As supporters of independent film, we must live up to our word and watch as much independently produced content as possible. Thanks to director Jason ‘Joops’ Fragale for sharing Simone with us, what looks to be the third film he’s done under the 386 Films banner. The short stars Jennifer Ward as the titular Simone, and after one long night of hard partying, she wakes up hungover, and when she attempts to chase the hangover away, she finds herself getting sick. Really sick. Coughing up balls of human blood and hair sick.
As she reconstructs her night, she remembers meeting Eve (Erin Cline) at a bar, and pieces together their experience together. As she comes to some horrifying realizations, she finds herself distraught, until the next night, when she gets the feeling everything might just happen all over again. It’s a hard film to review plot-wise, because a lot of it hinges on the final reveal. While the story was convincingly told, there were a few snags along the way in the execution of the final images.
The film is dominated by handheld camera work, when smooth steadi-cam shots would have been much more effective. Other camera techniques, like the lens flying into the face of the actors, comes off as jumbled and ill-conceived. However, camera movement plays a vital part of a creepy close-up attack on one of the characters, but in other places the shaky camera moves distract the eye from what’s really going on.
The f/x are simple enough, but effective. The cinematography is not ultra flashy, but you know what’s going on for the most part, and there are even a few really cool shots where the camera creeps around ominously. The music was quite effective throughout, and I really liked the opening track to the short, even if it does cut off somewhat prematurely. My biggest complaint would be that the editing should be tightened up, some scenes play long when they shouldn’t, especially when they are book-ended by timecuts. There is a bit of over-reliance on After Effects-styled filters and color correction. Still, the story comes across, the acting is decent, and there’s a good scare scene. I can’t expect much more than that in a 15 minute short film, and it only hints at what director Fragale has up his sleeve next.