Vexed, Commentary; “Be careful what you wish for”
Director: Marc Cartwright
Writer: Baker Chase Powell
Release Date: October 201,7
Release Format: Film Festival
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Short, Horror
Running Time: 12 Minutes, 59 Seconds
A romantic date night goes horribly wrong when a couple questions the validity of horror film plots.
Vexed screened at the Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio. This invigorating short Horror film has reaped several awards including Best Horror Short and Best Thriller Short. It has also achieved Merit Awards in all the creative departments that come together to create a ground-breaking project, including the Directing to the Acting, and every component in between.
Nosheen Phoenix – Leah
Baker Chase Powell – Nick
Alex Diehl – Demonic Creature
Richardson Jones – Dream Monster
Joshua Zain – Dream Monster
Erynn Petrulis – Horror Movie Victim
Leah and Nick are having a date night, watching Horror movies. She notices Nick is more interested in his phone than watching the movie, so she questions him. He then responds, saying Horror movies don’t interest him because they don’t scare him. This brings about a brief debate regarding the subject. After she makes a sarcastic comment about Comedy films, which are his forte, he responds saying Comedy is better and more complicated than Horror. Speaking in terms of comedian and how tough their jobs are making people laugh.
Following this conversation, Nick experiences strange occurrences. He panics, but he jumps up to realize it was just a nightmare. Following this, he retires to bed for the evening, only for the strange occurrence to start up again.
Vexed has a plot I did not see coming. This is a good thing. Leah and Nick are having a date night. What better way to spend a night with the one you love than cuddled up watching Horror movies? This provides instant closeness with one another if one afraid. In most cases, it’s the woman.
Nick challenges the quality of the scarce terror of Horror films, calling them cliche’s and saying that no film has ever terrified him. Soon, he will regret saying that. He’s put into his own Horror movie, which tests his stamina and bravery. Bravo at this amazing concept. This accompanied with a creepy theatrical score, which is perfect for the subtlety and tone of the film.
Nosheen Phoenix shows a considerable protagonist turned antagonist. This transformation I did not foresee. Alex Diehl, Richardson Jones, and Joshua Zain are strong as the Dream Monster and Demonic Creatures. The makeup and costumes for these characters are eerie and satisfying. The effects of the black ooze were perfect. Vexed reminds me of a darker and spookier Goosebumps film. There are fine jump scare scenes and “things that go bump in the night”. Then he wakes up, and it was all a dream. Or, was it?
Vexed questions the Horror genre in terms of quality. This is a solid debate and conversation. Being an avid Horror fan, of the late 70s, 80s, and 90s decades, I saw with Nick’s perspective. There a lot of great films in the industry, yet, few of them do what they should; frightened the audience. That is why it’s called Horror.
Older decades of the industry are, by far, scarier than the modern-day films. Black-and-White and Silent films from the 1910s through the 1930s were creepy because of the unknown factor they possessed. When a major part in the film came, and it’s blacked out. The viewer left to ponder what happened. You assumed “the worst” transpired, but it’s never shown, so there was that uncertainty. With the lack of technological advancements and violence being taboo during these times, a lot of interpreting had to fill the void. Hence, the sudden scream in agony after the screen goes black.
Fast-forward to the 2000s, nothing left to the imagination. This also hinders many films’ attempts to frighten the audience. Directors and filmmakers put great emphasis on the shock value in productions nowadays they forget about substance and quality. Director Marc Cartwright, in so many words, explores this topic in Vexed. This film takes two paths: it’s an informative and enlightening in the sense it begs the viewer to ponder the message that is being relayed, and it is entertaining when it takes that message that the main character has challenged, and it twists it into a challenge for him.