CULT FACTION

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Short Term Stay (2018)

Tessa Carmody as Sofia Graham

Short Term Stay is a short film by first time Writer/Director Rachel Toye. The 10 minute feature sees a young, female traveller who decides to stay in London for a few months. While there, she responds to an ostensibly innocuous advert for a lodger. This short film is excellent, as it does 3 things in particular right.

Firstly, it is simple. Too many upcoming filmmakers try and complicate their short films and cram in as much “nuance” as they can. Often it does not work out and ends up obfuscating real talent in favour of trying to make their first film their magnum opus. Start simple, and build your talent over time. This film is a prime example of that. It has a 3 act structure and adheres to this quite strictly which works in its favour.

Secondly, the film is easy on the eyes. It is filmed nicely, and does not overuse filters or too many cuts in an attempt to show how much the Director knows about cinematography. The story is easy to follow and in turn allows the viewer to come to conclusions at the same time the characters do.

Thirdly, the film is written well. Even if a Director fails at the other two, if the writing is good enough, or bad enough (looking at you SYFY) a film can still work on some degree. This film is written well. The characters feel down to earth and grounded, and the film managed to evoke the discomfort that can come from the first forays into independent life. In addition to this the film managed to reinforce my fears of backpack travelling, because apparently even nice, elderly couples can be homicidal serial kidnappers. The characters are also acted out well, with the protagonist feeling perfectly vulnerable and naïve in the same way an actual backpacker would feel. The elderly couple also are unsettling, due mainly in part to how routine and matter of fact they treat the kidnapping and murder of multiple young people.

VERDICT: Overall, I would give this film a 9/10 for being a simple but effectively unsettling exploration of the dangers of travelling and the naivety of youth, with its story being good enough that even a lack of budget doesn’t stop it from hitting close to home. I look forward to future endeavours from those involved, as they all display extreme aptitude and the Director in particular is one to look out for.

 

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