SILENTLY WITHIN YOUR SHADOW, 14min, UK, Horror/Thriller
Directed by Scott Lyus
As their relationship grows, Lucette’s obsession for ventriloquism and her dummy Hugo starts to strain her relationship with Jace. To Lucette Hugo is more than just a dummy, he’s her best friend and represents her ambition as an artist, to her, he’s very much real.
Read review by Amanda Lomonaco:
I have to admit to having a lot of mixed feeling about Scott Lyus’ imaginative short. Like a lot of other films in the February lineup for WILDSound, Silently Within Your Shadow played on an already familiar storyline, and added its own interesting twist to the tale. Nevertheless, I had a difficult time immersing myself into the story of the film, for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, I have a slight bias against ventriloquist doll or other doll related horror films. For one nothing, in my mind, will ever beat R. L. Stine’s brilliant stories, aside from the hilarity that is the entire Chucky series. Moreover, whenever I see a horror movie doll my heart feels immediately torn between a slight feeling of distaste and an anjoyment of all cinematic things that compel me to squirm in my seat.
The performances in Silently Within Your Shadow also threw me off a little. I wouldn’t go so far as to criticise any of the actors too harshly for their work, but there were definite points in this short where I wasn’t quite buying what was going on. My uncertainty, however, stems from the fact that I couldn’t quite tell if my disbelief was based purely on the acting, or from the written dialogue itself. While the storyline for Lyus’ film twisted a well-known story in a refreshing way, the dialogue itself felt like it could have used a little more polished to seem more natural.
From personal experience doll-based horror films are something people have quite strong feelings about. Or perhaps that’s just me projecting. In any case, Lyus’ short was one of the few independently produced doll-horrors that have pleasantly surprised me. Regardless of how you might feel about these films there is one valuable lesson we can get from them; be wary of ventriloquist dummies and the people who play with them.