Gail Morris (writer/director April Phillips) is a security guard who discovers the chilling, but potentially world-changing, secrets of a mute homeless man in the New Zealand horror/science-fiction thriller REM. This offering packs a lot of drama and emotional weight in its running time of approximately 14 minutes.
On her rounds one night, Morris discovers a vagrant man (Chris Ryan) in an abandoned building. He is surrounded by newspaper clippings and wall scrawlings about disasters. Although the man cannot speak, Morris learns that he may hold a certain power that could save countless lives. She alerts a newscaster (Tracey Savage) in an effort to spread the word about what the man can do.
April Phillips gives a first-rate turn as a woman who wants the world to understand what a miraculous help the tortured man can be. She shows her concern for the strange man and the terrible gift he possesses with the perfect level of emotion and stirring facial expressions. Chris Ryan is fantastic as the man in question, going between creepy (one scene in particular where he is menacing Morris is absolutely chilling), sympathetic, vile, and agonized. Savage does a nice job in her briefer role, as well.
April Phillips’ screenplay for REM is well-paced, and she brings her ideas to cinematic life with a deft hand, pacing the proceedings wonderfully. Matthew Sharp’s cinematography looks super, and Tane Upjohn-Beatson’s score adds to the eeriness of the short film.
REM is currently on an award-winning film festival run. For more information including screening dates, visit https://www.facebook.com/REMmovie/.
(4 / 5)