Somehow in a decade where it seems we’re getting nothing but sequels, prequels and remakes comes Familiar; a truly sensational short film from production company Fatal Pictures. The third film from the company started by Richard Powell and Zach Green, Familiar once again proves the duos commitment to producing nothing but top quality horror films (they are behind both 2011’s Worm and 2008’s Consumption).
In just over 20 minutes, Familiar focuses on a middle-aged man called John Dodd (Robert Nolan). From the opening scene, this film wastes no time; we are introduced to John’s family and his boring, mundane life. Before us is a man so desperate to escape from the humdrum of his boring, seemingly sub-urban, life that he is counting down the days until his teenage daughter leaves for college so he can buy a truck and actually begin to live as opposed to just exist. When news of his wife’s pregnancy threatens to cut off his ‘life line’ with one fell swoop, John realises that something has to be done.
Written and directed by Fatal Pictures co-founder Richard Powell, there is actually very little dialogue throughout the movie; John’s innermost thoughts and fears are shared with the audience through a monologue. Nolan’s voice is perfectly suited to the character of John and I feel it was thanks to him that this film is such a triumph. His soft, monotone voice mixed and the expertly written script really allows for the character to come to life. It is clear that even though the running time of Familiar is less than a third of that of a usual feature film, every aspect of the movie was sweated over meticulously.
Whilst the film is mostly quite subtle, I found myself wincing at my desk during the final scene. The special effects and gore in the final few minutes are simply fantastic! At points I thought I might actually have to turn my face away; my skin was well and truly crawling.
Familiar takes you through all the paces that you would expect to go through when watching a truly great feature-length film. If you can then you absolutely must jump at the chance to see this fantastic independent film.