Out There (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Out There (2012)

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Now here's this selfish fella.Andrew LIKE Banner Why is it that most of the events always happen to good or innocent people?  Sure, there's a hint of audience identification involved because if we hate the protagonists we're not going to care too much if they live or die.  In the moments where that has happened I've heard more laughter than chills course through the audience.  There are exceptions, but evil in horror is mostly something that happens to people instead of it brought about by their own actions.  One of the interesting things about Out There, a short film from Randal Plunkett, is that there are many signs throughout the film that Robert (Conor Marren) may be a right bastard to everyone outside of his own perception.  This doesn't lessen the chill of the situation he happens into, but leaves more intriguing questions about what we expect from the fates of protagonists in horror films.

Since Michael Bay and the Paranormal series have gotten their hooks into the genre it seems most of what I watch is either of the shaky-cam and endless screaming variety, or contains camerawork so still and scares so cheesy that they elicit yawns versus a gitter or two.  Out There is a lean and very effective 15 minutes of horror more interested in being equal parts beautiful and scary.  It's a horror short confident enough in its scares to run entirely in the daytime instead of relying on jumps from the night.

Robert must be one of those people who feels the world is out to get him, because when we first see him he wakes up dazed and bleeding in an environment molded as an antagonist.  The trees are sharpened and pointed toward his body, the buildings he finds are decayed but still aligned like razors, and when he finally finds a standing structure its clear the decorator does not want him to stay.  All the while an atonal hum plays in the background and even when Robert flashes back to what seem to be happier times with his girlfriend Jane (Emma Eliza Regan) the constant buzz plays subtle havoc with the romantic tunes.

This is not the look of a dependable and strong lover.

This is not the look of a dependable and strong lover.

As Robert explores the environment his memories come back slowly.  In a fun mix of genres, the earliest moments look and play like a bad indie romance, which for Robert is the point.  They're in soft focus with a ridiculous number of candles lit and dialogue so cheesy it can only come from misremembering a fond time.  Eventually the conversation begins to have implications about their future as a couple and Robert's distressing tendency to keep Jane away from her parents while breaking out into small fits of nervous laughter.  The soft focus and candles are long gone by this point, and Emma Regan finds the perfect silent moment while the sun glares through the trees to show "Just who is man I'm bunking with?"

I was initially disappointed in the climax but the creatures, especially the one who triggers the wave, make a good deal of sense in light of what news Robert gets tub-side with Jane.  Instead of taking responsibility, Robert has embroiled himself in a scenario where he need not be accountable for anything because the world and all its inhabitants are out to get him.  Not a bad set of implications built off some beautifully fluid camerawork and keeping all the scares implied.

Most importantly, I really felt nervous watching some of these scenes.  The moment where Robert enters what seems to be the one non-dilapidated structure in the world ticks off its reveals with great patience.  Also as important, Out There was able to switch gears and Robert's response to what he finds is both logical and hilarious.

Unfortunately, Out There is currently screening by invitation-only, but serves as a taste for Plunkett's first feature-length film.  I'm excited to see the expanded results.

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Poster - Out ThereOut There (2012)

Directed by Randal Plunkett.
Screenplay written by Oliver and Randal Plunkett.
Starring Conor Marren and Emma Eliza Regan

Posted by Andrew

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