EXTREME UNCTION

1.5 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 9 minutes
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Extreme Unction takes the internet predator comeuppance idea and gives it a fresh twist, but in the end is hampered by its own technical and compositional shortcomings. The short sets the scene with a man trolling internet chatrooms for a young, female victim to exploit. Upon finding one, he sets the date and gets together the dubious tools of his trade, including duct tape, hand cuffs and a box cutter. Once he reaches his potential victim’s residence, however, he finds that things were not entirely as they seemed.

At less than 10 minutes, to say more is to spoil exactly what the twist here is, and while the idea of a sexual predator becoming the prey is not a unique one (see Hard Candy, for example), the context and complexity of the “why” is original enough. Aside from that glimmer of originality, however, the film didn’t work for me.

Visually, the composition feels like the camera is just a little too far away and stiff most of the time, almost as if all the cinematographer needed to do was take a step closer to tighten the frame a bit; lots of space in the frame. In addition, in the cases where lighting appears to be utilized, it casts some severe shadows that just don’t seem realistic but, instead, poorly set; in some cases, you can see either the light itself or its overwhelming bounce on the walls. Maybe the room was lit that way by the lights already there, but I doubt it and it looks awful.

Beyond that, the acting is equally as stiff as the camerawork, and the audio is less than solid. With the right composition, lighting and editing, it would’ve been possible to take this lo-tech, lo-budget short and give it a real stylistic nudge, but as it is the short film comes off as amateur at best. Again, though, it has a hint of originality in it, and I’d be interested in seeing, or perhaps reading, the greater story context beyond this little snippet. I just wouldn’t want to see it done this way again.

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Posted on September 17, 2011 in Reviews by
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