The dictionary defines a scythe (sīT͟H/) in two ways:
noun: a tool used for cutting crops such as grass or wheat, with a long curved blade at the end of a long pole attached to which are one or two short handles.
verb: to cut with a scythe.
What got me thinking about this old school cutting tool? I recently had the opportunity to watch the a new, old school horror short “Scythe” written and directed by Jim Rothman (he also has a small role in the film as a newscaster). Starring Andrea Muller, it is an extremely well-made film and she’s excellent in it. I’ve seen hundreds of short films in a variety of genres, and the quality runs the gamut from truly amateurish/horrible to superb.
This film is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of acting, cinematography, editing, music/sound, editing, pacing, etc. Horror/thriller films rise and fall on their plausibility and the characters. Too often sloppy writing and logic flaws cripple films. Playing on common fears of walking home alone at night, being followed, misinterpreting innocent things while in a fear state, “Scythe” successfully blends all of these.
I definitely felt a “Halloween” kind of vibe which, as it’s my favorite horror film, is meant to be a high compliment. I’m assuming Jim Rothman, shares my love of 70s/80s horror of the John Carpenter variety as that’s the kind of feel you have here.
While I could see this being a larger film, it seems to me that there will always be a place for short fiction movies. Well-done horror and sci-fi lend themselves well to a tight setting and limited scope/time. It enables the filmmaker to create high tension and deliver a solid jump/scare, some false scares, comedic moments and such quickly and succinctly. Too often, expanding to 90 or more minutes degrades the experience by dragging things out. That said, I know there is intention to do that here and based on what I saw – if anyone can do this correctly and successfully it’s Rothman.
This film works by keeping things tight and quick leading a satisfying ending. Andrea Muller carries most of the film on her own as she interacts with her environment and questions whether things are happening or not. Her friend has alerted her to the escape of a serial killer and that gets her heart racing and mind spinning into a frenzy. She’s got a killer scream and fully imagine her continuing to chase and capture the “scream queen” mantle in the future.
In the sea of short horror films I have seen, I have to say I really enjoyed “Scythe” and look forward to seeing more from Rothman. We clearly share a similar taste in horror and as a writer I appreciate seeing more of the classic style being used. Especially with what was clearly a highly-talented crew creating and editing this 15-minute gem.
I am proud to support this film and its maker and urge you to do so as well. They are days away from completing a Kickstarter campaign and need horror fans who love classic, intelligent horror to show some love:
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