Review by Jude Felton
I’ve said it before, and will no doubt say it again, that some of the best cinema out there is in the short movie format. Short, sweet and to the point they quite often go to show that you can craft an effective tale without the excess flab that you sometimes get in a feature length production. Frequently overlooked in favor of a full length movie, as truth be known it isn’t always easy to track them down, yet oftentimes far more effective.
Deviling is the latest short movie from writer/director Michael Sharpe and Sharpe Edge Films, who previously brought us Monomaniacal in 2010. The plot of Deviling revolves around one man’s obsession with an ex-girlfriend. Robert Haulbrook plays Ronald, a mortician who has not taken kindly to the fact that his ex, Sharlene (Jodi Essex), has left him. He pesters her constantly on the phone, much to her annoyance, and the calls soon turn to threats.
The first thing I noticed about Deviling is that it looks absolutely fantastic. The images are incredibly sharp (no pun intended) and the camerawork is wonderfully smooth. The contrast between the scenes with Ronald in his morgue and Sharlene at her house are like night and day, with the color all but drained from the morgue scenes. The grey palette perfectly sums up Ronald’s demeanor with the warm colors that surround Sharlene having the same effect on her.
Regardless though of how a movie looks, let’s face it there are some wonderfully looking turds out there, it would mean nothing if there wasn’t any substance behind the story and the actors bringing said story to life. This is where Deviling really excels with Robert Haulbrook’s performance as Ronald being absolutely terrific. It’s an edgy, nervous energy that is brought to the screen with an underlying violence, which on occasion bubbles to the surface.
Running to a taut 14 minutes Deviling kept my attention throughout with no on-screen time wasted. It is a dark movie with the only humor being the blackest kind and from the mind of Ronald himself.
I definitely recommend you check out Deviling should you get the opportunity as it is quite excellent. Perfect Halloween viewing!
For more information on Deviling head on over to the movie's Facebook Page
DEVILING trailer (2011) from Sharpe Edge Films on Vimeo.