Prolific horror movie critic, screenwriter, and fiction writer Dan Wilder makes his directorial debut with the short shocker Mercury Screams, a trippy tale of mysterious creatures and miscarriages.
The short initially presents itself as footage that was thought lost, from an episode of a 1984 television series exploring paranormal stories titled Within the Gaze of the 3rd Eye. In a reenactment of “actual events,” after Gretchen Winchell (Sarah Zimmer) suffers a miscarriage in Manhattan, she and husband Herd (Wayne W. Johnson) move to a rural area in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. While they both sleep, Gretchen is visited by a monstrous figure. The tragedy that befell the Winchells may be part of a far-reaching, ominous plot.
Wilder, who adapted the screenplay from his feature-length version, gives an authentic 1980s-era regional television video feel to the proceedings. This is a low-budget project, but the conceit of the regional documentary helps Wilder get the most out of his project.
Besides the VHS aesthetic, Mercury Screams boasts a cool Eurohorror vibe, as well. Beautifully framed shots and vivid color palettes are on display, with cinematographer Jon Caron turning in solid work. The cast fits the retro reenactment feel quite well.
The psychotronic short Mercury Screams is obviously the work of a seasoned horror fan, with an eerie energy and brooding atmosphere. It is an impressive calling card for Wilder, and he is obviously a talent to watch. Here’s hoping that the mysteries teased in this short become fully realized in a feature film sooner rather than later.
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(3.5 / 5)