Movie Review: TWISTED (Award Winning Short Film) 2015

TWISTER was awarded best cinematography at the November 2015 FEEDBACK Film Festival

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video from the Festival:

  MOVIE POSTERTWISTED, 14min, Australia, Drama/Thriller
Directed by James Hartley and James Shepherd

After a night with the girl of his dreams, Michael has a story to tell. And a favour to ask…

Review of the Short Film by Amanda Lomonaco:

Wow! Is any Australian film at the WILDSound Festival ever going to be bad? I never thought I would have a bias for flicks from the land down under, but I may have to reasses. I promise my preference for these films is in no way intentional. I’ll do my best to keep this one as balanced as possible.

To begin with, the title itself is the perfect definition of the film. The story is, in fact, incredibly twisted. From the very start you can feel something is a little bit off about the film. The shaky camera angle, the slightly unkempt boy in a school uniform coaxing you to do something you clearly don’t want to do. In fact, the very position of the camera is offputting; throughout the film the main character, Michael, addresses the camera directly as his school mate. This allows Jame Shepherd & James Hartley, the directors of Twisted to throw audience members directly into the world of the film, and creates a sense of complicity with Michael’s acts.

Despite all my bias and admiration, Twisted is obviously far from perfect. Since the film is carried almost entirely by the monologue and perspective of a single character, there are some inevitable points of monotony, which I’m not sure whether to blame on the writing, or on the acting. Neither element was poor, which is why it’s so difficult to pinpoint where exactly the film goes wrong at the few moment where it does.

One particular moment that pulled me out of the story abruptly was  when the film’s title was inserted into Michael’s monologue. I’ve never been a fan of playing with film titles inside the actual story, precisely because it removes me from the story world. In this instance the disruption is even more jarring as Michael’s repeated enunciation of the word “Twisted” gradually appears more forced and unnatural. This might have been more appropriately treated with some more complimentary camera movement, perhaps, but as it stands on its own I can’t say I appreciated it.

Regardless of this one instance, I loved this film, even with all its flaws. Some of my reason for this bias towards the Aussies may just be their propensity towards making slightly disturbing and… well… twisted films, which I have already been vocal about preferring. With that said, it would probably be advisable to stay away from this film if horror and suspense aren’t really your genre of choice. For all the rest of you, add this to your bucket list, for sure.