“The Hourglass Figure” (2013): Housewife Pays a Hefty Price for Time to Herself


We can’t stop time, it is said. If we could stop it, time would probably drive quite a hard bargain with us to do so. Prolific director Patrick Rea shows just how terrifying a prospect this  can be in his first-rate short horror film The Hourglass Figure.

Michelle Davidson gives a terrific performance as a mother and wife who would love to have a little “me time” in her day.

Chelsea (Michelle Davidson) is an overworked, overscheduled housewife with two young daughters and no time to herself. Her husband Ray (Brian Paulette) is frustrated with her inability to have the house clean, dinner ready, and to have herself dolled up when he gets home, similar to his parents’ routine when he was a boy. As Chelsea ticks off another chore on Ray’s honey do list, she chances on an hourglass that comes with peculiar and incomplete instructions. Ray says that the hourglass belonged to his deceased mother but that the rest of the family was never allowed to touch it. Chelsea discovers that the hourglass grants her that magical extra hour in a day that most people wish they had. As you might expect from a horror story, a heavy price must be paid in situations like this, especially if one goes about things without knowing the penalties, as Chelsea does.

Director Patrick Rea and screenwriters Michelle Davidson and Amber Rapp explore the ravages of time in The Hourglass Figure.

Michelle Davidson’s performance as the frazzled mother and wife is splendid. She owns the screen when she is on it and says much with her subtle facial expressions alone. Brian Paulette gives a nice turn as her stuffy foil of a husband, as well. Besides handling the leading role, Davidson also cowrote the screenplay with Amber Rapp. The pair present a fully fleshed out, wonderfully paced story and director Patrick Rea performs yet another top-notch job at the helm (for examples of more of Rea’s horror shorts, check my previous Gruesome Magazine reviews for Howl of Good Time  [2015], Pillow Fright  [2015], and Counter Parts [2014]). The Hourglass Figure offers another taste of Rea’s patented clever, slightly wicked sense of humor, which is one of the things I enjoy most about his short films.

The Hourglass Figure: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.