A puzzling murder at a store that has closed for the night leads a detective down a dark path in director Michael Aguiar’s After Hours. Fine performances from a cast led by the always reliable Bill Oberst Jr. highlight this effective short film.
Lauren Deakin (Dana Mauro) is in the shop where she works after closing, and she correctly surmises that she is not alone. As she makes for an elevator, she meets with sudden demise. Her boss Louise (Tracy Heathcote Decresie) discovers her body the next day and contacts Detective Harris (Bill Oberst Jr.), who is familiar with the victim. Any more plot summary would take us into the land of spoilers.
Michael Aguiar helms this whodunnit horror well. A patch at one point that is meant to show time passing slows things down a bit but I can’t blame the director, who also edited, for wanting to keep footage with Bill Oberst Jr. in the short. The stalwart genre-film veteran is always a treat to watch, and the supporting actors give solid turns here, too, including Gabriel Lee, who appeared in Aguiar’s feature-length film The Laughing Mask (2014), as Deputy Cordova.
Adam Weber’s screenplay keeps things running tautly except perhaps for the time-passing sequence that I mentioned before. William Schweikert’s cinematography helps keep edge-of-your-seat suspense throughout, as does Christopher Schmitt’s original score, which alternates between piano-and-strings and dramatic synthesizer.
After Hours is just kicking off its film festival run and is well worth keeping an eye out for. Updates about screenings and other information can be found at facebook.com/afterhoursshort.
After Hours: (3.5 / 5)