The Key to Annabel Lee (A Woman in Triptych) (Short, 2011)
Written (adaptation) and directed by Staci Layne Wilson
This three-part short film is based on, and features, the poem Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe. If you are not familiar with it, stop reading this, go read it, and then come back. This short explores the poem in three ways through three different interpretations of the titular character, hence it being a triptych. Those interpretations, as stated on Blue Streak Productions’ YouTube channel, represent the “mythological Three Fates through the poetry of motion”.
The incarnations or Annabel Lee take the form of actresses Cherilyn Wilson (“Doll” segment), Corrie Shenigo (“Tango” segment), and Staci Layne Wilson (“Rocks” segment), who all bring layers of personality and mystery to the dreamy character, making her one complete woman. Their performances can be considered more than acting as they are the character, or at least one side of her, making her both believable and impossible to grasp all at once. Nivek Ogre is The Narrator, who does the reading of the Poe poem for each interpretation of Annabel Lee, bringing subtle differences to each. His tone of voice and the way he reads the poem add to the feeling of a dream-like state the triptych brought to this reviewer. He represents Poe but in his own way, bringing in the listener into the images on the screen.
Supporting these performances and the poem are the beautiful visuals created by the director and the cinematographer, adding more to the amazing, entrancing dream on screen. Another very important aspect to the ambiance of the film is the music, which includes song(s) by The Ventures and an original score by Mars of Dead House Music. The score and music provide a haunting feeling to everything happening on screen. It becomes an integral part of the movie, a supporting character; it becomes one with the visuals and adds to them without the viewer noticing.
All these aspects put together make for an involving experience for the audience, bringing them in and making them feel like the eternal lover of Annabel Lee. The Key to Annabel Lee (A Woman in Triptych) is a stellar first foray into the art of short films by Staci Layne Wilson, making sure we all want, and cannot wait, to see her next effort.
4 out of 5