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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 10.15.09] movie review short horror

Year: 2009
Directors: Marc Roussel
Writers: Marc Roussel
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

[Editor's note: As I was putting the finishing touches on this review, director Marc Roussel emailed to say his short had just picked up "best short" at THRILLSPY Film Festival in Washington, D.C.. Congrats Marc!]

Watching short films is always an odd experience. Maybe it's because of the restrictions on length, or maybe it's just that filmmakers inherently know that cranking out a short film is something they HAVE to do to break into the biz, but more often than not I find they lack focus and leave me with an overall feeling of dissatisfaction. Of course, there are also rare occasions when a short film can have it all. The brilliant work of Rodrigo Gudiño ("The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow") comes to mind, and now Marc Roussel's bite-sized, supernatural thriller Remote joins the ranks of the small category.

Why is it so good? Because Roussel was smart enough to focus on the writing. The story of Remote is tight. It takes a high concept involving a time-paradox and plays it out to its full, horrific potential. It has as much suspense, scares and twists as a feature length film so, in short, I'd say it's the whole package.

"On a cold February night, Matt loses his cable signal during a severe snowstorm. He's left with channel after channel of static, until he comes across a station that is the mirror image of his apartment, but 30 years in the past. He soon discovers that he can communicate with Justine, the young woman residing in the apartment on the television. As the two get to know each other, Matt discovers that Justine died on that very night 30 years ago. Does he have the power to change her fate?"

Okay so yes, it does kind of sound like a horrored up version of The Lake House, but who cares. Using the TV as a conduit between two moments in time is not only a cool idea, it provides a compelling visual. While watching the film, I never really thought about what it would have taken to film both characters separately and then edited both segments together to be seamless, but given some time I'm pretty floored that it works as well as it does.

Then again, Roussel has worked as an editor on such films as The Skulls 2 & 3 and Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies, so I'm not surprising that Remote is so well shot and edited. You can tell that there was a lot of coverage and no one shot lingers for too long, making the film fast paced.

There is also a great chemistry between the two leads and though the film is sometimes hampered by the odd line of poorly delivered dialog, the performances by Ron Basch and Sarah Silverthorne are strong and delivered with conviction.

Remote is currently playing the festival circuit so check your local fest to see if it's playing and check it out if you can. Word is that Roussel may be looking to turn Remote into a feature so we'll be sure to keep you posted as he's a new director we've now got our eye on.

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marla newborn (12 years ago) Reply

REMOTE is one of my all time favorite shorts. I champion the short film and filmmakers for Fangoria Magazine and I am putting together a film fest and I always have a shorts program at Fangoria events. REMOTE is always on the top of my list. Thank you for also appreciating such an amazing movie!

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