Insatiable (Short, 2009)
Reviewed by Morgan Elektra
Starring Raine Brown, Mike Lane, Zoe Daelman Chlanda
Directed by Scott W. Perry
It takes skill to make a good short film. It requires all the same knowledge and expertise as a feature film, and you have to convey a story in a really brief period of time (just 26 minutes in the case of "Insatiable"). That's not easy. You don't have time to gradually build up, flesh out characters completely, or develop every corner of the story. You have to get the hook in right away and get moving.
One of the very first things we see in writer/director Scott W. Perry's short "Insatiable" is a man and a woman in a hotel room, bathed in red light. What could be a romantic interlude quickly changes tone as the man reveals sharp fangs and lowers his mouth to the woman's throat. But wait! The lead (Lane) then lays his victim on the bed and proceeds to drain her blood via some plastic tubing … not very vampire-like! Immediately the viewer is wondering what the hell is going on.
The story that unfolds follows Lane's character (Derek, according to the IMDB; with no dialogue there's no other way to know the characters' names), a serial killer who seems to have some sort of vampire obsession. He picks up women and brings them to a hotel room where he apparently sedates them and then drains their blood, which he stores and examines at length back at home. The fangs in the opening sequence are fake, part of his fantasy play.
Perry does a fine job of giving us some sense of Derek's personality via the ritual nature of his killings, the scientific way in which he examines the blood of his victims, and his strained and uncomfortable relationship with his concerned wife. When Derek's eye is caught by a sexy woman he's seen at the hotel where he brings his victims, Perry follows her with long, lingering shots. The woman, seemingly a prostitute given that she's with a different man every time, notices Derek in return.
While Derek's estranged wife begins trying to figure out what's going on with her husband (and what he keeps out back in the shed, which I have to admit I would have been nosy about from the beginning), Derek and the prostitute's mutual interest results in a climax when they both get what I think they really wanted all along. It's not a big twist ending, although it does come with a slight surprise that's somewhat foreshadowed earlier on.
All in all, "Insatiable" is a solid and entertaining short. It's not perfect; while the score and sound design were well done, I would have preferred at least some dialogue. Although on the upside, no dialogue means no wooden delivery, which is always a risk on small, no budget productions. At first I felt that while I liked it, I wasn't entirely sure what was going on and it was slightly underwhelming. However, after watching it again, the more I thought about what I was going to write for my review, the more I realized I really enjoyed the subtlety of it. This is one that gets better and better with repeated viewings. There are several things you think, "Oh, okay, I get that and what it means," but then after seeing it again, it's not that you were wrong, but it meant that and more, which I think is great.
"Insatiable" is currently making the festival rounds, so if it's playing at a horror fest near you, you might want to get a ticket … or two so you can watch it again!
3 1/2 out of 5
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