THE EBBING *** USA 2019 Dir: Kevin Patrick Murphy. 13 Mins
A beguiling short from actor-turned-director Kevin Patrick Murphy and actress-turned-writer Jennifer Trudrung (who has a part in the upcoming HALLOWEEN KILLS), this follows a traumatised mother who has recurring nightmares about her missing daughter. She envisions her as pallid and coughing up sand – already resigned to the idea of her prowling in darkened rooms as a ghost. The mother patrols the streets – decorated with missing posters – with a flashlight as her grasp of reality fractures. The film is dramatically a little uneven, but vividly captures its protagonist’s state of mind, capturing a sense of desperation (she captures someone because she believes they might know the truth) and the constant feeling that strangers and passing acquaintances might bear potential responsibility for what might have happened. The lead performance is strong, and the film balances both dark humour (a cut to cookie baking) and genuine creepiness (the final twist). A shame it feels the need for a hokey, now-obligatory extra post-credits scene.
Review by Steven West