Multi-award winning independent filmmaker Jaysen P. Buterin returns with The Corner – the latest horror short from Mad Ones Films. Following a recent streak of horror hits on the film festival and convention circuits, how did this latest effort measure up? Read on to see for yourselves!
** WARNING: MAY CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS!**
As with all short films, it is very difficult to outline plots without giving away at least something. We always strive to never give any MAJOR spoilers in our reviews here at Nerd Nation, and I assure you, I will do my best here as well, but I digress. You’ve been warned!
…Still here? Okay, great! Let’s get to it!
The Corner tells the story of Joli (played by Missy Dawn of Porkchop 3D) a young woman working as a babysitter for a well-to-do and seemingly eccentric mother, Lori (voiced by legendary scream queen Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp fame). Lori has left her a note, telling her that she is welcome to watch TV in the back room of the house, out of earshot of the sleeping children, assuring her that she will be back by 10:00pm. Everything about the house seems normal enough. It’s a lovely home, tidy and well maintained, but something about the décor just seems a bit creepy and off… particularly the creepy, life-size clown doll sitting in a rocking chair in the corner. Joli, who clearly suffers from coulrophobia (that’s the fancy, scientific term for fear of clowns, for those of you who might not know) tries to cover up the doll, but each time she does, it seems to uncover itself when she’s not looking.
Could this be a creepy coincidence? Could she be going crazy from her own fear? Or could this possibly not be a doll at all? At least one of the answers to these questions is yes, but I won’t say which one. All I will say is go watch it and see for yourselves… if you have the nerves for that sort of thing, of course!
Clocking in at a runtime of just under six minutes, Buterin and company really make the most out of this film, squeezing every single drop of tension, drama, and general unease out of this short-but-strong story. The cinematography and camerawork is absolutely masterful, as director of photography/editor Jesse H. Knight paints a beautiful, haunting, and atmospheric picture out of a seemingly benign setting. This is absolutely critical to point out, as the film would not be nearly as enjoyable without it, particularly with the time constraints.
However, as masterful as the visuals are here, the sound does suffer a bit. While the physical performances of the cast are superb (especially that of Joh Harp, who makes a surprise appearance that I won’t elaborate on any further) the dialogue seems just a bit unnatural at times. This is perhaps due to the ADR/voiceovers just not quite meshing with the overall vibe of the film. It’s not that the synchronization is off, it’s just that the tone doesn’t exactly match at certain times. Perhaps a bit more time with the cast on their lines, or a bit longer runtime to work with would’ve solved this, but I digress. Either way, it doesn’t take away from the overall story that much, and is a minor gripe at best.
The Bottom Line
Overall, The Corner is yet another excellent notch in the belts (which at this point must be resembling the famous Chewbacca belt as very few waists are large enough to hold this many) of Jaysen Buterin and Mad Ones Films. While not quite a perfect film, it’s an exceptionally well-shot, and well-produced atmospheric horror short that showcases exactly why they are making such a name for themselves on the independent film scene. In fact, The Corner just took home top honors for “Best in Show” at the 2017 MystiCon Independent Film Festival, which is no small feat considering the size of the rapidly-growing multi-fandom convention. If this is a promise of even more great things to come, the future is looking very bright indeed! – 8.0/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine