SONAR **** UK 2022 Dir: James Hughes. 7 mins
Having seen behind the scenes photos, I knew this was going to be good. I was shocked to discover that this was made with zero budget as part of a competition.
The ambitious director James Hughes succeeded in creating a beautifully shot drama short with some superb horror elements. The film follows a late night swimmer who follows an unusual sound coming from under the water.
The cinematography plays a key role as the audience are drawn into the deep. David Cawley and Jan Vaceanu-Staicov are clearly highly talented enough that this is visually stunning, especially with all the varying shades of blue. I often find that films depict underwater as dark and murky, yet if you were to scuba dive into the depths, you would see so much beauty. This beauty is captured here and gripped my attention.
The film stars Amy Marie Campbell as the swimmer who discovers something supernatural and Jack Brett Anderson as the lone submarine operator. The silence from the two characters only adds to the mystery. They are both able to perform the emotional piece, set out by writer Eleonora Mignoli, using only facial expressions and body language. Both are incredible and drive the storyline.
Without giving too much away, make-up artist Addy Frame does an incredible job with some special effects and makes them look realistic.
The film is superb and I am still in disbelief that this was pulled off so well on zero budget, thanks to the stunning visuals and a great story from Eleonora Mignoli and James Hughes.
Review by Poppy Blundell