Red Balloon (Short, 2011)

Red BalloonStarring Rachel Bright, Niamh Palmer Watson, Chantal Eder, Niamh Palmer Watson

Directed by Damien Mace and Alexis Wajsbrot

Written by Damien Mace, Alexis Wajsbrot, Jimmy Pinto

View it on DailyMotion

How many times have we seen the creepy babysitter movie in which a pretty young girl winds up biting off more than she can chew in a baby-sitting job? And no matter how many times we see it, it still works on a scary-as-hell level because it’s a horrifying premise. Still, it’s easy for a genre to become stale. In the case of Red Balloon, the tried and true play out with predictable results but are dressed up in good performances and great cinematography.

Bright plays the fresh-faced teen in charge of a child for the evening. News of an escaped lunatic comes on the television, and things promptly go to hell for her. So far, the movie is very cliché and predictable. Throw in a few creepy dreams, and the movie feels a little split between what it wants to be and what it is. There is at least one nice surprise for anyone who’s ever screamed “get out of the house!” while the babysitter marches up the stairs to take on the bad guy, but even that falls a little flat in the face of the rest of the plot.

Where Red Balloon shines, however, comes from the cinematography and the actors’ performances. In particular Rachel Bright works very well in her role as the terrified babysitter. Niamh Watson is adorable as the child and captures the screen any time she appears. The camera angles, lighting, and overall “mechanics” of this short show off a great deal of talent as the film manages to capture the claustrophobic feel needed to make the audience really uncomfortable, but in a good way.

Overall, I’d say this film is decent. The story is predictable, but the actors aren’t. We’ve all seen the babysitter story, but we haven’t seen it done exactly like this one. I think this short would serve well going on the directors’ demo reels as it shows off some really good skills and respectable chops.

3 out of 5

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Scott A. Johnson

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