In the supernatural horror short The Maiden, real estate agent Lucy Wells (Alia Raelynn) is determined to sell an old house – and desperate enough to forge ahead even when a former resident makes it terrifyingly clear that she considers Lucy a trespasser. Writer/director Michael Chaves has forged a great-looking, suspenseful film that fans of haunted house cinema will relish.
It’s no spoiler to say that The Maiden is a supernatural story because the opening scene tips viewers off with a solid idea of what to expect. A little girl (Betsy Sligh) runs through an empty house with an older woman (Penny Orloff) following behind, and we are given a brief glimpse of her fate. It’s a gripping 43 seconds that sets the mood perfectly.
Years later, Lucy arrives at the house, which she is trying to sell. As she cleans the place to make the building seem to be in less disrepair than it is, she finds a necklace that played a part in the opening scene. She soon gets her first visit from the former resident. Lucy is not the type to scream and run away when unexplained phenomena occurs, though. She is bound and determined to make her commission, no matter how much it angers spirits. With a client on the way, Lucy and the spirit battle to see whose will is strongest.
Alia Raelynn is excellent as a resolute real estate agent, displaying both fear and a capability to be headstrong where others would flee. Her performance alone is enough to recommend The Maiden, but the short has so much more going for it, as well. Michael Chaves has crafted a tight, taut screenplay – with Jacob Fleisher providing additional dialogue – and he helms the film with marvelously, keeping both Lucy and viewers on guard throughout the film.
Of interesting note is that all of the action takes place during the daytime, and the special effects are seamless in this lighting, which is brighter than usual for horror films. Tristan Nyby’s cinematography is terrific, and Julie Kravitz Gannon’s editing adds to the excitement. The sound design and score help keep things on edge.
The Maiden had a successful film festival tour, including winning the Best Super Short Film award at last year’s Shriekfest. The short is now available to watch free online at https://vimeo.com/163109217. I suggest doing so at your earliest opportunity.
The Maiden: (4.5 / 5)