Few things in horror films beat that cathartic moment of a good comeuppance to a villain, and few are more disturbing than an innocent person falling into a dangerous situation when they merely tried to help someone. The latter of these cases is the situation for the protagonist in director Ryan Gaff’s short film Black Moon.
Fabienne Tournet stars as a woman — established as a mother walking home to see her youngsters in the opening moments — who hears the cries of a child in a pedestrian tunnel upon which she happens. Being a good samaritan, she goes inside to check on the child’s safety, which becomes her undoing, because this incident occurs on the night of a black moon, which, as the film supposes, some people believe is a night of supernatural activity.
Black Moon is, for the most part, a one-hander set in a single location. Gaff, who wrote the story for the short with Daneil Shafer penning the screenplay, mines the simple-sounding situation for all it is worth in the short’s eight-minute running time. He builds suspense wondrously, capitalizing on the fears of being in an unfamiliar space and of something unexplainable and seemingly irrational happening. Tournet gives a fine performance as a woman who is wary of entering the space but does so with the intent of helping another person. She shows different, growing levels of fear for her character, which also helps to heighten the film’s dizzying sense of mounting panic and terror.
Black Moon screens at Morbido Film Festival, which runs in Mexico City from October 30–November 3.(4 / 5)