Monday, September 3, 2012

Exit 7A (2012) Short Film, Sweet Twist

The old adage says, "Less is more."  Learning my writing chops over the years, I was told that time and time again (and I'm still guilty of the occasional wordiness).  It's the same in film - there's a time and place for glitz and show, but unless you've got a basically good, solid story, it's just that:  glitz and show.

In watching Hammer and Saw Films' short film Exit 7A, writer-director William Peters told a lot of story in very little time.  Really, that's the point of a good short film:  to get its point across in a limited duration.  There's no need for "glitz and show," as the film does exactly what it needs to do:  tell a great story.  Peters and his crew accomplish that in a way that reminds me - despite my seemingly general comparison - of an episode of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits.  Like those programs, it's a straightforward mystery in which you know the answer, but it's not thrust in your face like an over-sharing kid showing off a half-melted ice cream cone.  It's subtle, telling a story rather than trying to impress you with insane visuals, and it opens up a possible universe of related stories.

Based on a short story by Asher Ellis, Peters presents the story of good-guy Paul (Ben Watts), on his way to a family gathering one winter day.  Harry (Michael Mooney) calls to tell Paul to get his butt in gear because he's off to work, and the relatives are "restless," especially Uncle Frank, who's not feeling too well.  Paul assures Harry he'll be there, but is distracted by a beautiful and mysterious hitchhiker (Angela Borrello).  Taking the winter air into consideration, as well as his own curiosity, Paul decides to give her a ride.  She's guarded, reserved, and haunting with her hypnotizing blue eyes.  She does, however, let Paul know his intentions:  she's planning on killing someone off of Exit 7A, and wonders just what Paul might do to stop her.

I'm not going to spoil it, but it plays out with intensity, and a nice little twist.  Peters does a great job in packaging a really good near-homage to the gore-less, character-driven subtle mysteries on which the horror genre is built.  While Mooney provides a solid supporting base and Watts is really good, capable, and believable lead, Borrello really stood out to me as she carried an air of confident mystery around her in playing off of Watts' Paul.  The film also looks great - the cinematography and framing show just how alone Paul is with the hitchhiker, despite the openness of the landscape.

According to Peters, Exit 7A will continue making the festival circuits before being officially released later this fall on the Hammer and Saw Films website.  I asked Peters if Exit 7A could end up being part of a horror anthology, to which he replied, "The thought of Exit 7A being a part of an anthology has definitely crossed my mind.  I think an indie horror anthology show would be awesome - something I would definitely support."

Hey, I like anthologies, so I'd be all for it as well!

Until next time, passengers, you can check out the official Exit 7A website here and take a look at the trailer below:

Exit 7A - Trailer from Hammer & Saw Films on Vimeo.

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