Maisie Williams in Corvidae (Photo via Sicily Publicity)

There’s something inherently magical about Tom de Ville’s captivating new short film Corvidae. It reaches into the viewer’s gut to a place where primal instincts reign supreme, bullies get what’s coming to them, and an act of kindness brings nature itself to one’s aid.

In other words, he’s created a fairy tale with the feel of a terrifying story you might uncover on the dusty shelves of your favorite library or in the back of a secondhand bookstore.

In the 11 minute film, a young girl named Jay, played by the remarkable Maisie Williams from “Game of Thrones”, rescues a crow after it is cruelly injured by a boy with a slingshot. She takes the corvid to her home and attempts to nurse it back to health.

Later on, when the boy and his two cohorts attack Jay when she returns to the woods, they find out far too late that crows have long memories…and they hold onto grudges.

Official poster for Corvidae

Corvidae, which forgoes dialogue all together, is quite simply one of the most compelling short films of its kind that I have seen in a very long time. Every direction from de Ville is enhanced by the skilled editing hand of Miikka Leskinen resulting in a palpable tension that crescendos from the softest beginning to the guttural caw of its ending.

Williams gives an amazing performance in an almost entirely silent role proving, yet again, why hers is a rising star. Her soulful eyes convey every fear, every care, and every hurt to the audience and draws us into the film’s world with alacrity.

Sound designer Vincent Watts and composer Adam Nordén, meanwhile, bring their considerable talents to the film, filling the space left by the lack of dialogue with a textured landscape of natural sounds and music and amplifying its folkloric feel.

What works most about the film, however, is its universal feel. Much like any fairy tale, it could take place anywhere which only serves to intensify the sheer terror of the story’s moral.

Corvidae will make its debut this weekend at Fright Fest in London before it heads out to the festival circuit. Check out the trailer below, and keep your eye out for appearances at festivals near you!