Somewhere between classic Pandora’s Box-style cautions and good intentions paving their own roads to hell lies director/co-writer Eric Dresden Connelly’s Darla (2015). What begins as a human drama story with a heartwarming act of concern merges into science fiction and horror territory.
A homeless man (Matt Fowler, also co-writer) is rummaging for food and other items in an alley when he suddenly hears the unmistakable sound of a baby crying. He determines that the baby is inside a covered dumpster and wrestles with whether he should rescue the baby or continue moving on. He eventually makes his decision and readies a place for the baby in his cart. What happens next in this approximately 5-minute (before end credits) short needs to be left undisclosed to avoid spoilers.
Eric Dresden Connelly, Matt Fowler, and the short’s crew have done a bang-up job. Darla has no dialogue, very little music, and a sound design that consists mostly of a baby crying, ambient street noise, and the sounds of the homeless man’s actions, but the short still manages to touch viewers with the main character’s acts of kindness and then surprise them with its climax. Erik Hassel’s cinematography looks terrific, and Connelly chooses a variety of interesting angles and shots to strong effect. Fowler brings believable emotional investment to his role.
Darla had its world premiere at Shriekfest in October and is currently on its festival run. This is one to watch for one when it heads your way.
Darla: (3.5 / 5)