Halloween is shortly upon us, so to get you all in the mood for this most ghoulish of celebrations, we’ve decided to open the floodgates on our Horror channel and unleash some of the most unsettling films we’ve witnessed in recent times. Kicking off a series of scary shorts on S/W is Australian director Josh Tanner (The Landing), who returns to the site with Reverse – a five-minute Horror set in the confines of an underground car park.
Following in the recent trend of Horror films using modern technology as a plot device (feature film Unfriended and shorts Larry and Whisper are prime examples), Reverse (as the name suggests) employs the parking sensors of its protagonists car to deliver its scares. Inspired by Tanner’s real-life ghosts in the machine – the director admits he came up with the premise for his short because “the seats in my car sometimes register that someone is sitting in them via the seatbelt alarm when there is nothing there” – Reverse is a simple, but effective Horror aiming to give you a dose of the unnerving chills in its brief run-time.
Armed with an Arri Alexa equipped with Cooke Anamorphic lenses, Tanner and a tight crew shot the film in Brisbane over the space of just one night. The post-production had to take a bit of a break whilst the director and his team worked on a commissioned short called The Rizzle for Hulu’s Huluween Film Fest, but Tanner is especially proud of the sound work they created for the piece. “Our post production sound and music team had a lot of fun building an unnerving sonic patchwork of sounds” Tanner reveals, “augmenting sounds of car seat belts retracting and tyres screeching”.
Technology has always played a large role in Horror, from the phone in Scream to the mysterious VHS in Ringu, but with many suggesting modern technology (mobile phones in particular) may be ruining the classic tropes of the genre, does it perhaps lay in the hands of the short film to decide on the direction scary films take in the future? With both Jacob Chase’s Larry and Julian Terry’s Whisper currently being expanded into features with Amblin Partners, we’ll find out soon enough.
In the meantime, Tanner will be dropping his longer short Wandering Soul – a 13-min Horror set in the claustrophobic Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam War – on Short of the Week on the 9th of November.