This Horror Short Sunday you are in for one hell of a treat as we bring you writer/director Caleb Slain’s expertly crafted short film Demon!
An injured man wanders out of the moonlit desert onto an eccentric loner’s property only to discover his rescuer has a dark secret hidden in his shed. Demon stars Brent Henri, Sopha Savage, and Kirk Baltz. You may recognize Baltz from last week’s creepy Horror Short Sunday feature The Armoire.
Demon digs its claws into you from the first frame as we see Marco staggering towards the glistening campfire in the distance, and being met by the business end of a rifle. We then jump ahead to Marco being taken in by his surprisingly hospitable (and a bit loony) host Bill. It isn’t long before Marco finds something Bill’s been trying to keep hidden in his shed a few dozen feet from his shack.
As Marco wanders between the shed and Bill’s shack, you’ll begin to notice the film is now one continuous uncut take until the very end. The decision to let the camera role as the plot unfolds really pulls the viewer into the scenario with unflinching tension.
Those who have seen Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House will recall the Two Storms episode similarly utilizing mind-blowing long, uncut shots. While Slain’s production was nowhere near as large, the behind-the-scenes posts on the short film’s website details just how daunting filming Demon was.
They decided to go completely insane and cinematographer Drew Dawson ended up shooting in the middle of the desert using no artificial lighting. This means they were completely at the mercy of the full moon cycle for natural lighting on only 12 available nights of the year. Add that to a film that requires intensive rehearsal and choreography because there are almost no cuts, and you have a recipe for disaster that miraculously came together.
Technical achievements aside, Demon also delivers brilliantly on the narrative. Without going too much into detail, the Hitchcockian premise keeps the audience in a state of uncertainty as Marco tries to figure out what exactly Bill has locked away in his shed. The actors rise to the occasion delivering superb performances in a film that is executed like an uninterrupted stage play.
In the sound department, the original soundtrack by Wlad Marhulets gives Demon a haunting western feel that enhances the uneasiness of the situation. The audio during the final moments of the film makes the viewer’s imagination run wild, and is a solid example of less is more.
Slain’s Demon is a bold feat that swings for the fences, and absolutely pays off. It’s one both the film buffs, and aspiring filmmakers should equally appreciate.
Check out the full video for Demon below! I highly recommend watching in a dimly lit room for best viewing experience! (Mature audiences only, viewer discretion advised, NSFW)
Tune in next week to discover more amazing short films for Horror Short Sunday!