Fire pits are burning. Pumpkin seeds are toasting. And the sale of black lights has tripled. Yep, spooky season is officially upon us. That means a bunch of creepy short flicks are coming to the short-form corner here at Cut Print Film. So lock your doors, kill the lights and try to keep your eyes open for Steven McCarthy’s brooding vampire romance O Negative.
The Plot: Life and death are the stakes for a young couple on the run … even if one of them isn’t really alive.
Vampire flicks are a much tougher sell than they used to be. But a few recent additions to the category – i.e. Thirst, Only Lovers Left Alive, and Let The Right One In – have proven there’s still life in the undead genre. Steven McCarthy’s atmospheric chiller O Negative may well be the next vampire film to lay claim to that list. Unfolding largely within the walls of dingy hotel rooms and sleazy pick-up bars, the film combines the meditative spirit of Let The Right One In, the casual cool of Only Lovers and the sexual tension of Thirst to tell a menacing little vampire tale all its own.
That tale follows a young couple (McCarthy and Alyx Melone) as they try to balance their passions for one another with the need to feed the woman’s addiction. Of course, that addiction is human blood. How they come by it is what drives the narrative in O Negative. But how McCarthy executes the film’s narrative is what sets the film apart from much of its blood-thirsty brethren.
For McCarthy, that means atmosphere. Though O Negative opens in a rush of panicked energy, the director quickly slows things down. Once the dust settles, McCarthy takes the slow-burn approach, pacing O Negative with a calculated calm. But he undermines that calm by building a potent sense of dread throughout. It’s worth noting that McCarthy manages that task with almost no dialogue. As the film progresses, McCarthy finds moral and sexual tension in steely glances. He finds eerie energy in the quiet that comes with things unsaid. And he brings all that energy to a boiling point in his use of the film’s spectral soundscape.
What’s that translate to? A film that’s as caustic as it is conflicted, as bloody as it is brooding and as sinister as it is sexy. That’s everything a good vampire flick should be. So is O Negative.
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Steven McCarthy Based on Characters Created by: Alyx Melone and Steven McCarthy Starring: Steven McCarthy, Alyx Melone and Sandra Forsell Director of Photography: Cabot McNenly Edited by: Stéphane Lafleur Music by: Gordon Hyland and Sam McLellan
We hope you enjoy O Negative! Steven McCarthy’s film played to raves on the 2015-2016 festival circuit and would even go on to be named one of the ten best short films produced in Canada for 2016. While McCarthy hasn’t yet settled on his next project behind the camera, he’s continued to generate steady work in front. The actor actually has two more shorts – Boys Will Be, Rape Card – and one feature – The Definites – hitting the festival circuit this year alone. Hopefully, McCarthy will find the director’s chair on a new project as well … once he’s caught up on all those acting gigs. Until then, you can have a look at some of McCarthy’s prior work over at his Vimeo page.
While you’re there, be sure to check out some of the thousands of other short films – scary, scarier and scariest – team Vimeo has curated for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device … SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting, and you may just stumble across your new favorite filmmaker.