water can attract insects and apparently also spirits from beyond the grave.
Young Kris is convinced her late father’s ghost haunts that brackish water, but
her conviction does little to console her zonked out mother or her
authoritarian aunt—quite the contrary, in fact. Turn of the Century Flemish
family values are decidedly Gothic in Jeroen Dumoulein’s short film The Pond (trailer here), which screens
during the 2016 Popcorn Frights Film Festival in South Florida.
her father’s untimely death left Kris’s mother an emotional basket case, her
strict Aunt Jeanne started managing the household, with an iron fist and a righteous
compulsion to judge. Although she keeps the widowed mother partially sedated,
Aunt Jeanne largely leaves Kris to her own devices. She has only one rule:
avoid the pond.
course, Kris is drawn to the small body of water like a magnet, especially when
she starts to see tantalizing visions in the murky water. There is definitely something
in there that recognizes Kris—and if the little girl is kept away from its
waters, it will come to her.
is a delightfully creepy tale of the supernatural that has some very impressive
effects, but Dumoulein’s use of atmosphere and suggestion are even more
unsettling. It is also a first class period production thanks to the richly
detailed work of art director Stijn Verhoeven and the design team.
Cinematographer Robrecht Hevaert gives the film the lush, sinister look that
fans of Hammer Horror will immediately appreciate.
Young Xenia Borremans is impressively poised and
convincing as the increasingly alienated Kris, especially considering the outlandishness
of some of the scenes she carries. (Some things just aren’t covered at acting
camp.) Kirsten Pieters and Sara De Bosschere are also unapologetically weird
and twitchy as Mother Dearest and good old Aunt Jeanne, respectively. It is one
of the finest technically crafted shorts you will find, regardless of genre, but
it also satisfyingly takes cares of its supernatural business. Highly
recommended for fans of horror and dark historicals, The Pond screens this Friday (8/12) before a feature at this year’s
Popcorn Frights Film Festival.
Labels: Horror Movies, Popcorn Frights '16, Short Films