HOUSE OF LEXI **** UK 2019 Dir: M W Daniels. 15 mins
Writer-director M W Daniels also created the music score for this haunting study of loss and grief: the wordless vocals enhancing an eerie soundscape for the opening slow-track in to a scene of our heroine (the impressive Emma Dark) on a beach in Whitstable.
Hints at past tragedy abound as we voyeuristically spend time with this emotionally unstable young woman at home. Everyone around her seems concerned, including the sister with whom she lives. Something about the house itself doesn’t seem quite right: are the photographs changing? To what might this woman be referring when she exclaims “Leave me alone!”? Daniels has crafted a short, cinematic exercise in dread and melancholia, in which even what should be innocuous suburban daytime scenes have an underlying sense of unease. There’s no explicit onscreen horror (unless you count a jarring blood-vomiting moment), but it’s disorientating and haunting. The brief climactic wrap-up / explanation does, alas, kill the mood a little: as with Daniels’ THE AFFLICTION TABLE, the marriage of sound and image is so potent that dialogue, however fleeting, feels oddly intrusive.
Review by Steven West