EILID + DAMH **** Canada 2019 Dir: Neil Cavalier. 11 mins
Co-written by actress Vivien Endicott Douglas and director Neil Cavalier, here’s an evocative character-driven exercise in unease with two strong female leads. Following the collapse of a relationship, Charlie (played by Vivien Endicott Douglas) reunites with her younger sister Ruby (Hannah Endicott-Douglas) at a cabin in the woods, where tension, arguments, childhood recollections and discussions of their individual fears become the key talking points. A prominent narrative beat is Charlie’s lack of recollection in regard to a childhood location where the siblings used to play “fairies” and whispers of Druids were exchanged. A skull in the woods hints at a possibly malevolent higher power at work. The casting of two sisters in the lead roles results in a credible onscreen intimacy between the two characters and both actors excel at capturing emotional fragility in the limited time they have. It’s very well acted and builds carefully and quietly to an eerie fireside pay-off, while sustaining significant atmosphere from its lonely, wintry backdrop. The score by Alexandra Mackenzie is particularly effective at highlighting the story’s occult themes with its imposing, OMEN-ish vocals.
Review by Steven West