SCHISM **** New Zealand / Canada / USA 2019 Dir: Johnny Hall, Andrew Todd. 4 mins
Made as part of Auckland’s 48 Hours film competition 2019, this avant-garde, visceral psychological horror has an oppressive, disturbing ambience reinforced by co-writer-director Andrew Todd’s abrasive, frenetic electronic soundscape and the suitably grim black and white cinematography by Todd and co-director / star Johnny Hall. Hall’s unique lead performance gives us a uniquely fracturing protagonist: a seemingly ordinary guy who literally splits in two during an elevator ride, one physical part of him taking the form of a grinning madman with a psychopathic glint and laugh. Veering between madness and tenderness and superbly filmed and edited, this has Lynchian undertones but a distinctive and disturbing aura all of its own.
Review by Steven West