J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Friday, January 06, 2017

IIFC ’17: Commune (short)

It is hardly surprising this North London house has such bad vibes. Hippies used to live there—just like the Manson Family and Bill Ayers. They might have attained their lofty occult goals, but a malevolent power remains. It will torment the unsuspecting new caretaker in director-producer-screenwriter-editor Thomas Perrett’s short film Commune (trailer here), which screens during the 2017 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema.

It sounds like a good deal. Tom can live in the spacious house rent-free, as long as he chases away the squatters. It is even furnished, sort of. It definitely looks like the previous tenants were stoners. The abandoned baby carriage is a little creepy, but it is nothing compared to some of the flyers they left behind. Promising means of “transcending” the earthly body, the “Godless Commune of Sodom” probably made the Process Church look like Unitarians.

Obviously, Tom is in for it (especially since Kubrick’s The Shining is one of the director’s key influences). However, the way Perrett goes about making things go bump in the night is pretty smart and convincing. He definitely has highly-attuned horror movie instincts, often suggesting rather than outright showing, leaving room to let viewer imaginations do his work for him. It also must be readily asserted, there is a climatic bit that is totally freaky.

Frankly, Tom Weller is probably better than at least ninety percent of the airheaded victims you find it most horror movies. He looks and sounds like a real person, who really doesn’t make any egregious decisions. Still, the real star is the spooky house and the unsettling clutter. Some terrific art and design work went into Commune, presumably on a decidedly limited budget. The results are quite effectively sinister. Highly recommended, Commune screens Monday morning (1/9) during this year’s IIFC and on January 21st as part of the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival.

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