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Vimeo Short Film of the Week: ‘The Dark’

Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s we’re taking a weekly look at some of some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Tom Hemmings’ haunting drama The Dark.

The Plot: A father and daughter find something unexpected while developing photographs.

The Film:

There’s two schools of thought when it comes to horror shorts. The first is that you’re short on time so you have to go balls to the wall with shock-jumps and gory effects. The other is to take the little time you have, use it to build a mood and then let that mood swallow your viewers whole. There are benefits to both of those schools, but we’ll take a good mood-fest over pools of blood and guts any day of the week. So let’s take a moment to talk about Tom Hemmings’ moody and marvelous little thriller, The Dark.

Though the word “moody” doesn’t quite do The Dark justice. Hemmings’ film is one of the more deeply unsettling movies we’ve seen in some time. What’s so compelling about the film is just how straightforward it is in its execution, i.e. – a father and daughter set out to develop some photographs in a dark room. That’s really all that happens in The Dark. From that simple narrative, Hemmings and Co. spin a chilling tale of loss and regret and … some devastating, unspoken emotion we’re not certain many humans have ever felt.

The film’s complex emotional palette is bolstered by the performances of Jessica Barden and Toby Jones. That unspoken emotion is the one that drives Jones’ transfixing performance, and it’s a big part of what makes the film so creepy. Underneath it, Hemmings uses expressionistic colors, invasive photography, and a profoundly unnerving sound design to build potent but unexpected sense of dread. One that’ll have you squirming in your seat throughout, even though for most of the film, you’ll have no idea why. But then, that’s just what a great horror short should do. Enjoy!

Meet The Crew: 

Written, Directed & Edited by: Tom Hemmings Starring: Toby Jones and Jessica Barden Cinematography by: Stuart Bentley Music by: Laura Rossi Sound Design by: Tom Foster and Tarn Willers

We hope you enjoy The Dark! This really is a creepy little film. One that earned Hemmings and his crew more than a few accolades when it hit the festival circuit a couple of years back. Hemmings (who works mostly as an editor) wasted little time turning those accolades into his next project, returning to the director’s chair for 2015’s comedy short Alpha Beta. With any luck, he’ll find his way onto a feature film project in the near future. You can hit the Wellington Films Vimeo page to have a look at Alpha Beta to tide you over until that project is announced.  

While you’re kicking around, be sure to check out some of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – 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.

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Patrick Phillips is a Staff Writer for CutPrintFilm, looper.com and geekinsider.com. He reads a lot, drinks too much coffee, buys too many records and loves writing about movies. Find him on Twitter at @savagedetectiv. Follow his movie tastes right here - https://www.taste.io/users/patphiltaste/ratings.

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