GARDEN OF SOULS *** USA 2019 Dir: Christopher Milewski. 16 mins
A young widow (Karen Lynn) spends her waking hours in a graveyard, yearning to be reunited with her dead beloved. An old woman suggests a pact: help her fill her “garden of souls”, bring part of his remains to her and the two of them will be reunited.
Shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey and dedicated to D.W. Griffith and Mary Pickford, this monochrome homage to silent cinema captures the look and atmosphere of its inspiration, and also boasts an improvised score by Peter Krasinki – recorded on a 1913 Hutchings-Votey Organ – so it has the sound of one too. Though thematically it’s another variant on the age-old “be careful what you wish for” school of horror cinema, Milewski sustains a beguilingly strange ambience, showcases some cool vanishing skeletons and bows out on an appropriately grim note. An acquired taste, for sure, but an affectionate tribute to the vintage end of the “cinema fantastique”.
Review by Steven West