At this time of the year, here at Short of the Week HQ we’re always searching for fresh new Horror to serve-up to our blood-thirsty audience and Steven McCarthy’s O Negative feels like a perfect pick to quench your thirst. A dialogue-free, atmospheric take on the vampire narrative, underscored by one of the most-fitting soundtracks I’ve heard in sometime, McCarthy’s 15-minute short feels like a genre film for fans of independent/arthouse cinema.
Love/Companionship is a common theme in the Horror genre. From James Whale’s 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein to Tomas Alfredson’s recent Swedish horror Let the Right One In (a film it’s hard not draw comparison with when watching O Negative), the lengths someone will go to for the “monster” in their life is a thread well-suited to exploration and interpretation in these fear-filled stories.
It’s these themes coursing through the veins of McCarthy’s film that makes it such an addictive watch. The gaps the writer/director (and star – McCarthy also plays the lead male in O Negative) leaves in his narrative – like why is this man helping this woman? What is their relationship? – means his audience are hooked into finding out more
Although McCarthy is now working on a feature version of O Negative, don’t be fooled into thinking his film was just a proof-of-concept to expand his narrative world. This is a well-rounded short with a beginning, middle and end and although it does indeed leave you with many questions, it has the perfect resolution for a short story – one that leaves you imagining its universe, and the characters within it, exist long after its conclusion.