SUPER SCARY SHORTS SATURDAY
Director Jared Bentley’s short film The Conductor is a taut science fiction/horror thriller that brings modern technology to Mabusean machinations.
Helen (Jessica Richards) wakes up one morning with a strange electronic device on her back. Suddenly the gadget fires up and she finds her body being controlled by a mysterious force. She can do nothing to fight the electronic commands. The audience sees that a curiously masked person is behind this plot. Jessica is forced to leave her home and commit an act of violence.
Jessica Richards wonderfully conveys Helen’s desperate fight to regain power over her own body through her facial expressions that run through a gamut of emotions, including fear and grief. Only one other actor appears on screen for a speaking role; Diana Aeris plays Katie, a friend and coworker of Helen’s. She acquits herself well though her screen time is brief. To speak of what The Conductor looks like and does would give away too much, so I’ll simply state that the uncredited actor does fine here. Jessica Richards has the vast majority of screen time and she proves herself quite capable of keeping viewers intrigued.
There isn’t a lot of dialogue in The Conductor. It’s aurally driven by Jonathan LaCroix’s nifty score that’s heavy on synthesizers. His music provides a dynamic edge to the proceedings.
The screenplay is cowritten by director Jared Bentley with Darrin Scane and Eric C. Storlie, all of whom previously worked together on the horror short Covetous (2013). The trio has crafted a gripping five-and-a-half-minutes-long chiller that focuses on a lone girl’s plight yet opens up the villain’s potential to larger deeds. The Conductor is both a self-contained story and an invitation for a full-length feature. It clicks on both levels.
I wondered about the necessity of and reasoning behind The Conductor’s attire (again, I am avoiding spoilers) and I noticed some minor continuity issues between our viewpoint and his, but those are mere quibbles. Jared Bentley and his crew have made a slick, entertaining short that I heartily recommend. Make sure to stick around after the impressive ending credits.
Conductor: (4 / 5)