Occurrence at Mills Creek is a short film by Director Don Swanson, and “follows Clara, a young woman burdened by guilt following the deaths of her mother and sister, as her reality erodes from the same strange occurrences that have plagued her family for generations.”
While only 20 minutes long, the film also functions as part of the first act of an upcoming feature film by Swanson and his crew. With this in mind, the film is still quite good. The performances are good all around, with the short run time meaning that nobody is given time to properly showcase their acting abilities. They are still quite proficient, but I feel that if given more of a runtime they would be able to differentiate themselves and display more range.
The cinematography is excellent, with the opening shots of a snowy landscape looking beautiful. Swanson and his crew are not novice filmmakers, and their proficiency is apparent throughout the film. There is a professional sheen to the film that many short films lack, and it only makes the experience more enjoyable.
One of the strongest points I feel was the music and sound design. The music for the film absolutely mirrored the visuals in terms of context and quality with the music providing a perfectly haunting backdrop and overlay for the visuals to unfold.
One of my only gripes with the film was the story. The story itself is fine, but the way it was presented may be confusing for the average viewer to understand. The film is largely without dialogue and relies on the ability of the audience to infer what is happening on screen. This is a perfectly valid method of storytelling, and this is an issue that I feel will be resolved when the full length feature is released. While this is a short film in its own right, it is also undeniably meant to be part of something larger which means that there are bound to be certain fallacies and inconsistencies that result from it’s involvement in the larger film.
This is my only main gripe with the film, and overall I thought it was a decent short film with definite potential to be something greater when the full version is released.
VERDICT: Overall, I would give this film a 7.5/10 for being an intriguing, enjoyable film with a few inconsistencies and minor flaws.