Mark (Matthias Brueggenolte) is a young man who wishes to become a professional photographer, and pictures from the scene of a murder that he witnessed may be the key to landing just such a job in director/writer/producer Robert Mueller’s grue-filled short thriller Shutter (Germany, 2015).
A secretary (Leni Speidel) assists Mark with his appointment to interview with an executive editor (Caroline Stahler) who initially seems to have little time or patience for him. He recounts his tale of how, while stopping at a gas station the night before, he meets Rebecca (GeneviÃ¨ve Boehmer), a young woman who, like him, is driving solo through the area. After sharing cigarettes and a few friendly words, the two go their separate ways at the station. When Mark uses the restroom a few minutes later, he finds himself witnessing a grisly murder scene. He snaps some graphic photos and takes his leave. Readers will have to see for themselves what happens beyond what I have synopsized here.
Shutter works as both as a horror thriller about a man who witnessed a brutal killing and a character study of how far a person will go to land his dream job. Robert Mueller paces his six-minute film keenly, combining cogent storytelling with disquieting images. A scene in the bathroom with the sight and sound of flickering lights is just one example of his ability to create unsettling moments.
Matthias Brueggenolte gives a multilayered performance as Mark, a man who seems rather collected for his job interview considering what he went through the previous night. His expressions of fear and concern during his flashbacks as he recounts the incident to the editor are impressive. GeneviÃ¨ve Boehmer is charming as Rebecca, while Caroline Stahler infuses her editor character with a cold, distanced personality.
Lisa Schmermer handled the special effects make-up for Shutter and did a sound job, providing some nasty-looking wounds on the murder victim. Composer Roland Mair-Gruber’s score lends a chilling tone that adds to the short’s tension wonderfully. Tobias Linden’s cinematography is top-notch.
Robert Mueller makes a crackerjack debut with Shutter, which is currently making the film festival rounds. If it plays near you, add it to your need-to-see list.
Shutter: (4 / 5)