Familiar (2012) Short Film Review

Directed by Richard Powell
Starring: Robert Nolan, Astrida Auza and Cathryn Hostick
Reviewer: Horrorphilia Jeremy

Richard Powell proved with his last short that he knows how to Worm under our skin, and his latest, the twenty-one minute Familiar, quite literally does so. Not only do we have a successful return to psychological horror, we get a bloody mess of practical fx to keep everyone who stays the course happy. While at times the film strays dangerously close to rehashing the body-horror of David Cronenberg or the under seen French film Baby Blood, it combines enough elements to create its own monster by the end.

Robert Nolan returns as Powell’s pro-antagonist with another dynamic performance that ranges from subtle to boiling intense. He has a gaze that sears through the screen and curls up on your unwilling shoulder. Like Worm, we hear the inner dialogue of a man who is at his wit’s end. Is he truly depraved, depressed, or maybe possessed? While it is hard to empathize with his extremely loathsome thoughts, at times you understand him just enough that it makes his first horrific act that much more disturbing.

The production values of the film are all superb. The cinematography is perfect, and the music /sound design by Bernie Greenspoon creates shades of Angelo Badalamenti. While at times the story takes a spin into territory we’ve seen before, the climax is certainly its own animal. My secret wish now is for a full-length effort from Powell, Nolan, and Co. that really flips and exorcises their previous collaborations into a triumphant full-length that everyone can celebrate.
Rating: 8/10