Good things can come in small packages as evidenced by the less than 3 minute run time of the short film Amy’s Torch (2008). Written by Ben Wilkinson and produced & directed by Wilkinson and Gary Mellor this is a short film that takes a tired old story and revitalizes it in a new way. The premise of the film is very simple as little girl Amy (Evie Charlesworth) believes that there is a monster that lives under her bed only her Mum (India Charlesworth) doesn’t believe her. Amy’s only weapon against the monster is her torch (or flashlight) which she uses from under the protection of her covers at night. The film forces the audience the ask the question of what happens when the batteries in the torch suddenly stop working (as is customary in a horror film).
The film is made fresh by Mellor & Wilkinson’s fairy-tale atmosphere created not only through their choice of camera angles but by the fact that the entire film is told through a Narrator (voice of Ian Champion) who even dubs the voices of the main characters. This adds to the allure of the entire film and engages the viewer more than if the actual characters spoke in their own voices. I’m a sucker for the more adult fairy-tale like stories or at least those that don’t talk down to the audience. I’d rather see The Dark Crystal (1982) or Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) or Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997) any day and this one plays to those sensibilities.
I’ve talked with a lot of film makers who believe that it is difficult to conceive of a good short film but Amy’s Torch proves that it can be done as long as you have something to say and even though there is very little time to develop character in such a short amount of time there is no denying that audiences will sympathize with the character because as children we all had a seemingly irrational fear of something. Only Amy’s fear may not be as irrational as we might think. Mellor & Wilkinson have done a great job in distilling a basic childhood fear into an effective horror film nightmare.
You can view Amy’s Torch (2008) on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01AI0lAq_uY&feature=youtu.be