As a rule, short films are better than features. I believe I know why. Short films are as long as they need to be but features usually ought to be a different length. Sometimes this means they really need to be a miniseries. But usually, they are padded out for the purpose of distribution.
So I often come upon short films that are very good. But it’s rare to come upon something as brilliant as SLUT (2014). Everything works in it. The acting is first-rate. The sets look as worn down as they were during my own childhood. The lighting is subtle and sets an unsettling mood. Each shot is beautiful. The pacing is perfect. And it tells a compelling story with rich thematic elements.
SLUT is also like a horror film etude. It includes many classic tropes but usually done with more artistry than normal. They are also done knowingly with a wink to connoisseurs. When Maddy is reaching desperately for the lipstick tube, it’s as if the director is breaking in, “I know, right?”
Where Are They Now?
It says much about our world that none of the principals who worked on this film have really broken through. Most have struggled along in an industry that cares a lot more about money than art.
Not that it is all bad. Editor Michael Block has become a successful assistant editor, which might well lead to more. Production designer Yihong Ding has taken a similar path in her career. And director Chloe Okuno has just been tapped to direct a film version of Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person.” But this is 5 years after SLUT.
But enough complaining. If you haven’t seen this film, you should. Thanks to the Screamfest Horror Film Festival, it is available for free on YouTube.
Image taken from a frame in the film.