The Third Hand (Cinepocalypse): A Mysterious Copy Machine Gives a Lone Office Worker Bizarre Ideas

A lone office worker finds himself dealing with mysterious machines in the U.K. horror short The Third Hand. Prolific actor Tom Bonington, who fright fare fans may recognize from such films as The ABCs of Death 2 (2014) and A Haunting at the Rectory (2015), plays the worker, who watches snowy television and buys a candy bar on his break. The purchase is no easy feat, though, as the snack machine doesn’t want to give up its goods easily. After the worker tussles with the machine, the power goes out, leading to the man discovering a copy machine in a hidden room that makes repaired replicas of damaged items. Because the man is missing a finger on one of his hands, one idea leads to another, with gory results.

Writer/director Yonatan Weisberg serves up a short full of tension and paranoia, with clever touches of absurdist humor and existential morass. Bonington, the lone actor in the short, gives a marvelous performance as his character goes from curious and confounded to jittery and nervous, and then far beyond any of those feelings.

Director of Photography James Watson won the Cinepocalypse shorts jury Best Cinematography award, and for plenty of good reasons, such as wide angle shots showing the antiseptic hidden room and underscoring the worker’s aloneness, and extreme close-ups of parts of his nervous, twitching, sweating face. The Third Hand looks stunning, and the eerie score and Max Brodie’s unnerving sound design add perfectly to the short’s ominous, brooding feeling. Prosthetic artist Amy Thornton does a super job, but revealing exactly why here would spoil the short.

The Third Hand is a corker. Keep an eye out for it as it continues its film festival run.

The Third Hand screened at Cinepocalypse Film Fest, which ran June 13–20 in Chicago, Illinois. 

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.