PLACE **** USA 2019 Dir: Jason Gudasz. 10 mins
A disorientating, elliptical portrait of a fracturing family within the framework of a familiar modern American “Bad House” horror story. Nick Hurley, his girlfriend (Emily Green) and her young daughter (Stella Edwards) move into a long-empty house, with Hurley big on ‘setting a new vibe’ for the new house by being loud and active. Ominous knocking aside, the biggest reason to not go ahead with the move is the discovery of an electrician, dead from some freak accident. Meanwhile, young Edwards talks of the faces she has seen, “the faces say one of us is gonna die…”
Writer-director Jason Gudasz makes great, unnerving use of framing, sound design and the discordant music score by Jason Martin Castillo. Performances are finely tuned – including Emmanuelle Roumain as a deceptively chirpy new neighbour – and there is one stand-out, chilling spin on the endlessly recycled bathroom-mirror-ghost horror movie cliché. The ending is suitably ambiguous, and it’s shot through with a satisfyingly dark sense of humour.
Review by Steven West