In only about 4 minutes not counting credits, writer/director Ryan Cauchi’s Australian short horror film Golem spins an action-packed tale about the titular anthropomorphic clay creature from Jewish folklore while also setting the stage for a much larger story. The result is a gripping short creature feature boasting some fun monster effects.
The set-up is simple: during World War II, a Nazi officer (Jaimie Leonarder) and two soldiers (Matt Rudduck and Matt Clayton) storm a synagogue, searching for a rabbi (Steve Maresca). In the basement, the officer finds a miniature golem figure and crushes it — only to find that the rabbi has formed a much larger version intent on ridding the land of Nazis.
The visual effects and art department teams have crafted an impressive golem using stop-motion animation, — which monster kids like yours truly will take over CGI beasts anytime — and Cauchi uses the animated creature in tandem with actual WWII footage. The approach is a lot of fun, hearkening back to the effects of Willis O’ Brien, Ray Harryhausen, and others.
The short also features Rachael Brown in a role that is best left unspoiled. She and the other actors all turn in fine work, with the little dialogue in the film used to solid effect.
Fans of stop-motion animation and creature features should seek out Cauchi’s Golem, and hope that a full-length version of this story might be headed our way in the future.(4 / 5)
Golem screens as part of Warped Dimension live-streamed online film festival — presented by Another Hole in the Head — which takes place online from May 7–9, 2021. For more information, visit www.AHITH.com.