An unassuming prison janitor has his nightly routine interrupted by supernatural forces in the accomplished short And They Watched, part of the Fun Size Horror: Volume Two collection of short horror films.
The custodian (John Cianciolo) is cleaning the room containing the prison’s electric chair when he spots a handprint on the window through which witnesses watch executions. He finds that he is out of glass cleaner and goes to his supply closet to find some more. Suddenly the electricity starts behaving strangely and he finds himself confronted by a former inmate (David Scott).
Writer/director Vivian Lin has done a marvelous job with her debut short film. She has skillfully paced her film, which has no dialogue until the three-and-a-half minute mark (it runs about six minutes total). When characters speak, their words hold gravity. Lin builds an air of uncertainty and apprehension from the onset and sustains the mood throughout until the final frame. She is aided by the skillful cinematography of Paul McCurdy.
Special effects makeup artist David Scott, SFX supervisor Max MacDonald, and sound designer Eric LeClerc have also done a bang-up job for And They Watched. The gruesome makeup effects on Scott’s own character are disturbingly realistic while at the same time giving off a feeling of the supernatural. Some other characters also benefit from Scott’s makeup effects. The lighting effects and sound design as the former inmate stalks the halls express an eerie tone, indeed.
John Cianciolo and David Scott are impactful in their roles as Custodian and Executed, respectively. Cianciolo does a fine job in the wordless part of his performance and rises to the task when his confused character suddenly becomes more expressive. Scott has a multilayered role as a sympathetic person and as a vengeful entity, and he plays both parts with aplomb.
Vivian Lin and her talented crew have fashioned a sleek fright-fare short that makes all involved names to watch in the future.
And They Watched: (3.5 / 5)