'Blinky™' (2011) Image Now Films, Altura Films, Logolite Entertainment via Vimeo

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Our gruesome Horror Short Sunday pick Blinky™ shows how important it is to read the reviews before buying the latest gadget for that special someone this holiday season. Writer/director Ruairi Robinson’s high-tech horror short stars Max Records, Jenni Fontana, James Nardini, with the voice of the lovable robot Blinky played by Joe Childs. 

Here is the plot synopsis:

A young boy living in the near future looks for an escape from a home with arguing parents. As a way to cope with the recent arguments from his parents he receives a robot companion that he ends up abusing.”

Blinky™ is equally as poignant as it is disturbing. Unlike artificial intelligence in films such as The Terminator, The Matrix, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Blinky is not an evil robot looking to eradicate the disease of humanity from Earth. The film is a much more personal, and downright tragic story of the cyclical effects of broken homes. 

It’s heartbreaking to watch the events of Blinky™ unfold, which says a lot about the script and character development. Both Blinky and his young owner Alex go through arcs of stolen innocence. Alex is not so much a bad kid as he is a kid who’s hurting, and Blinky has no understanding of his commands or control of his actions. He merely follows orders. And when those orders are from a place of angst and rage, the results can be catastrophic. 

From a visuals standpoint, Blinky™ is one gorgeously shot and animated short film. It’s especially impressive considering Robinson says the effects budget was zero in the Vimeo description. Blinky is beautifully rendered to the point where he’s just as natural on screen as his human counterparts. His cute mannerisms are endearing until they start to become creepy. 

Macgregor’s cinematography is on point with some beautiful camerawork that sucks us in to this futuristic, yet believable, setting. The tight shots of Alex played by Records’ interacting with Blinky let the emotion shine through as their relationship quickly turns dysfunctional. Olafur Arnalds’ score does a great job enhancing the emotional impact of each cheerful and melancholy moment. This all leads to the film’s final shot that packs one brutal gut-punch.

Check out the full short film Blinky™ below:

Tune in next week to discover more awesome short films on Horror Short Sunday!