It Began Without Warning by Santiago C. Tapia & Jessica Curtright (2017) [Short Film Review]

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Written and directed by Jessica Curtright and Santiago C. Tapia, who have been partners in crime for several years now, It Began Without Warning made its presence known at both SXSW and Fantasia Film Festival.

I was immediately impressed with the long one-take opening scene. It managed to convey a sense of claustrophobia as well as this tight-in-the-chest suspense that I didn’t expect so early in the film, even in one this short (clocking in at just under 5 minutes), though the fast-paced action and cinematography (also done by Tapia) felt appropriate.

I did enjoy and appreciate such a vague (and bloody) premise. With 5 minutes, there’s only so much you can do to check off every box in the list of movie-making standards, and I think it was a fun and exciting choice to opt for a wild ride of death and confusion to lure us in. I especially appreciated the special effects — done by Josh and Sierra Russell — of the creature, the odd little being apparently responsible for the trance-like state of the kids. But the cuts felt a bit too jerky and the acting a bit too stiff for me to really sink in — though I’d totally be down to check out a feature length version!

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