Weeping Woman, The (Short, 2011)
Starring Melissa Bostaph, Stephen Geoffreys
Directed by Mark Steensland
Written by Paul Kane
Film festivals, and the short films that play at them, are often crapshoots. The shorts are usually created by aspiring filmmakers, and as anyone who wants to make a movie can tell you, one out of a hundred is honestly good. It takes real courage to throw your work out to the world and lay your hard labor bare for critics and armchair-directors alike to pick it apart. Every now and again, you come across a rough but workable short that shows real talent and promise. Such is the case with The Weeping Woman.
Clocking in at around seven minutes, there's not a whole lot of time for character development or intricate plot lines. The story is simple: A man driving down a snowy road (Geoffreys) encounters a sad woman (Bostaph) who asks him for help and mentions something about her children. To tell anything else would be to spoil the story, so, before I continue, know that BEYOND HERE LAY SPOILERS. While the title might lead one to believe that this is a story about the famed "Weeping Woman" ghost (also known as La Llorona), it is not. Bostaph's woman is no ghost, and she leads the man into the snowy forest to find a gruesome discovery.
Keeping in mind the film's brevity and obvious low budget, there is a great deal The Weeping Woman does right. The camerawork shows real thought and a sense of style that is missing from many amateur productions. Similarly, the soundtrack is a step above canned music or quick synth recordings. The producers even managed to get permission to use 80's rock band Autograph's Turn Up the Radio in a humorous scene. The children in the movie are intentionally creepy, as is Bostaph in her first role. In fact, her last line uttered is genuinely chilling. The largest asset to the film, however, is the writing. Based on a short story by Paul Kane, the script reads one part "Supernatural" and one part "Twilight Zone".
Of course, it does suffer from a few details that tend to drag the film a little backward. A few of the camera shots go on for a bit too long, which tends to pull the viewer out of the action. And, though valiant in effort, lead actor Geoffreys is in no danger of winning an Academy Award.
Minor drawbacks aside, The Weeping Woman is a short that shows a great deal of potential from those involved. The filmmakers' passion for the art of filmmaking does come through with the care and craftsmanship put into every frame. In total, the filmmakers have a great deal of which to be proud in this seven-minute gem.
3 out of 5
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