IN THE WALL
A 26-minute short film marked by plentiful gore, skillfully wrought suspense and a nifty double-twist. It’s good enough, in fact, that I’m willing to trot out a much-abused cliché: if you see one short film this year, make it this one!
This 2007 mini-feature was written and directed by Mike Williamson, who had previously worked as an editorial coordinator on the MASTERS OF HORROR TV series, and went on to direct episodes of the TV programs 1000 WAYS TO DIE, KILLER SISTERS’ MIDNIGHT HOUR and BLACKBOX TV PRANKS, and also the well-received 2015 short film DEATHLY.
IN THE WALL garnered heavy praise from Roger Ebert, Guillermo Del Toro and Fangoria, and won awards at six genre film festivals. It was lensed at the LA based Lacy Street Studios, the filming-place of SAW and countless other low budget horror flicks, and features Erin Brown, a.k.a. Misty Mundae (of quite a few Shock-O-Rama Cinema flicks), Chris McKenna (of Stuart Gordon’s KING OF THE ANTS) and the “Bad Seed” herself, Patty McCormack.
Jonelle, a young pregnant woman, is having to contend with her loser husband Chris. During an argument one afternoon Chris throws a hammer at Jonelle’s head, accidentally killing her. Being the scumbag he is, Chris immediately decides to dispose of her corpse and skip town.
His plans are put on hold, or at least complicated, by an odd scratching sound coming from inside one of his apartment walls--where he’s walled up Jonelle’s corpse--and the unexpected arrival of his mistress Tina, who promptly gives him a blow job. But Chris is assailed by visions of the undead Jonelle and accidentally strangles Tina.
This is followed by more odd sounds, inspiring Chris to break through the wall and finally discover what’s happening within…
This film is impeccably visualized and edited. There are some overdone aspects, such as the flickering neon and heavily filtered illumination (even one of the characters comments on the “mood lighting”), but the expertly wrought filmmaking, which alternates static montage editing with fluid and expressive handheld camerawork, holds one’s attention throughout.
Mike Williamson’s clever and imaginative script is an enormous asset. Strongly informed by classic horror films ranging from ROSEMARY’S BABY to ALIEN, that script is spare, concentrated and consistently unpredictable. Plus the special effects are first-rate despite an extremely low budget, particularly a horrifically convincing undead baby that’s all the more effective because it was created in practical rather than CGI fashion, something to which today’s horror filmmakers would do well to pay close attention.
IN THE WALL
Director: Mike Williamson
Producer: Greg Booth
Screenplay: Mike Williamson
Cinematography: Lyn Moncrief
Editing: Andrew Cohen, Patrick McMahon
Cast: Erin Brown, Chris McKenna, Patty McCormack, Annika Svedman, Rocky Cortinas, Lucas Sussman, Jack Lazzaro