Writer/director Natalie James’s Tritch is a meditative, slow-burn ghost drama that goes for a more reflective, haunting feeling than for sheer dread and fright. The result is an impressive debut short that offers equal parts pathos and eeriness.
This Australian short film, set in Shanghai and presented in the Mandarin language, tells the tale of affluent housewife Mei (Jenevieve Chang), who spends her days dining with friends or talking with her elderly mother (Linda Hsia). Mei starts to see and talk to a ghost in her home. She brings this up with her mother, who says that ghosts always appear for a reason.
Mei is also being haunted by something more down-to-earth: a decision that she and her husband made when they were younger. Natalie James conveys to viewers that Mei is feeling emotionally distanced from her husband (Ferdinand Hoang) with a cinematic technique rather than exposition: as he speaks to her for the first time in the film, he is reflected in a mirror while his dialogue is obscured by the sound of Mei’s blow dryer. Her son has recently been accepted to university but she has been unable to talk to him lately because he is always out partying with friends. As she goes through this disconnection with her family, Mei contemplates the couple’s earlier decision while attempting to make sense of her ghostly visitor.
Jenevieve Chang skillfully emanates a moving portrayal of a mother who finds she cannot escape a feeling of remorse, even though she lives a wealthy lifestyle with all of its amenities and has a successful family. Chang’s expressions of pensiveness and introspection are poignant.
Whereas many ghost stories aim merely for a sense of dread, Tritch adds a tone of heartfelt regret. Natalie James has crafted a unique take on ghost films with her supernatural drama that offers a fair share of creepy moments. The short is bolstered by a sympathetic protagonist and her sad story, admirable performances, and skillful direction.
Tritch screened at the Scream Queen Filmfest Tokyo tour event in Nagoya, Japan, in February 2016.
Tritch: (3.5 / 5)