Liz Drives Family, Racism, And Jealousy To The Limit
Liz Drives Film Details
Director: Mia’Kate Russell
Writer: Mia’Kate Russell
Release Date: 2017
Release Format: Film Festivals
MPAA Rating: N/A
Genre: Short, Drama, Horror
Running Time: 8 minutes
Women in Horror Film Festival Nominations:
July 2017 Best Horror Short Nomination – Atlanta Shortsfest, USA
Sep 2017 Shortlisted Finalist – AUSGFF: Australia-Singapore Film Festival, Singapore, and Australia
Sep 2017 Best Actress Nomination (Sophia Davey) – FilmQuest, USA
Sep 2017 Best Short Nomination
Aug 2017, Horror Movie Awards, online
Sep 2017 Best Director Nomination (Mia’kate Russell)
Aug 2017, Independent Horror Movie Awards, online
Sep 2017 Best Cinematography Nomination (Tim Egan)
Aug 2017, Independent Horror Movie Awards, online
Sep 2017 Best Actress Nomination (Sophia Davey) – Aug 2017, Independent Horror Movie Awards, online
Oct 2017 Best Special FX Makeup (Lizzie Sharp) – Maverick Movie Awards, USA
Oct 2017 Best Ensemble Performance – Maverick Movie Awards, USA
Oct 2017 Best Short Film – Maverick Movie Awards, USA
For estranged sisters, Liz and Ellie being a family have never been easy – but there are some horrors you create yourself.
Liz Drives is a short film written and directed by Mia’Kate Russell and it begins as a small road trip home from two sisters that right away we sense they have history and problems connecting. They stop at a gas station. Ellie tries to go inside the shop but it’s closed. A car arrives and Liz watches from afar where a black man comes out of it with blood on his hands reaching out for Ellie while a woman is sitting inside the car with blood on her hands too. Liz panics as she sees Ellie being dragged into their car. Ok, now you’re sucked into the story, if you were Liz, what would’ve you done?
I was excited to review this. For a horror fan like me, being able to watch and review an Australian short lead by Cassandra Magrath from Wolf Creek is a pleasure. I’ve loved her in that film and I think she had the most intense part of it.
Cassandra Magrath as Ellie
Sophia Davey as Liz
Christopher Kirby as Marcus
Amy Bradney-George as Samantha
Liz Drives does not disappoint and delivers one of the best twists I’ve encountered for a while.
Wow, what can I write about this film? I’ve been shaking for a while after watching it. I’ve loved it and I’m so excited that I can’t wait to watch more work from Russell. She’s a brilliant filmmaker. She’s been working as a make-up artist for a while and she’s directed shorts but I think it’s time she has her big break with her first feature. I read online she wanted to cast Sophia Davey for a script she wrote for a feature but with their budget, they rewrote and adapted to a small film and Liz Drives came out of that.
Actually, this is kind of a nice idea, they had a budget, not that much for a feature but enough for a short, great actors and a possibility to stand out on cinematography, editing, and make-up department. Russell exceeded in every way. Liz Drives is now on film festival circuit with a lot of attention by filmmakers and audience and has won a ton of awards. I’m happy I caught it, absorb it and review it. Now, back to the film.
I can’t tell much about the twist but what I can say is – as the tagline mentions – some horrors you create yourself. As the viewer, we watch what Liz sees in her own perspective, but is it the reality behind it? Don’t we make assumptions and go through our emotions before think about it? Racism, jealousy between family members and their history, it’s all palpable here and as the viewer; we are engaged in every action she takes and we are interested to know what could come up next and what the hell is going on…
Russell does exquisite work behind the camera and a lot goes with the cinematography, colors, ambiance and the shots. The story is great and it immediately puts you in the mood where estranged sisters share a ride to visit their mother. Liz has an issue with Ellie being the perfect daughter and you can feel it from the moment on when Ellie asks her if she brought her mother a gift and she answers that her gift to her is bringing Ellie herself… as what she gives to her mother isn’t perfect enough as her sister.
I’ve loved this dialogue, means a lot without saying too much. There’s even a moment where Liz stops the car and looks outside at a lonely dark road and at that moment I felt she wanted to leave Ellie there with her gift and drive away. Maybe she should have. Maybe it could be an idea for a sequel, or maybe I’m just so in aw for this film that I want to rewatch it again. See? It’s great.
The editing is perfect and smooth with especially a big shoutout to the sound mix, the car pursuit was really well done, sound loud and clear throughout the film. The performances overall are outstanding, especially from the two sisters and the chemistry is really there. I don’t have information how the filming went through, but I do believe a lot of passion came out throughout production. There is a lot to love in this film and its pure art, that’s what we want with filmmaking and cinema: watch, feel and think. You finish the film with a lot of questions, a bit of sadness and confusion but a desire to rewatch it to actually be sure that you got the ending.
3. In Conclusion:
Liz Drives is tough, poignant and real. It really is and Russell made a beautiful film with blood, family, and reality. We are all selfish every now and then and our actions may hurt everyone around us if they aren’t the best ones.
Click for information on rating metric: 0-10 Avoid | 11-20 Mediocre | 21-30 Good | 31-40 Average | 41-50 Satisfactory | 51-60 Stunning | 61-70 Terrific | 71-80 Must See | 81-90 Amazing | 91-100 Impressive