Short Film Review – LOST BOY

What’s this? It’s a short film review. Hollywood makes cool stuff, but I usually find the really interesting ideas in short films people put on the internet. And at the end of the day, Hollywood can only do so much when bound by decisions made based on what will make money and what won’t.

This short film is one I watched back in 2016. I was blown away by it at the time, and after re-watching it the night before writing this, I can remember why. It’s a proof-of-concept, which means there’s not much story or depth to it – it’s not meant to have either. The creators are showcasing their world and ideas in hopes of intriguing people to ask for more. Maybe they’re raising money for a proper film – I don’t know, exactly.

Upon following the links in the description of this film, I find a dead link and a website that only displays some flashy red graphics on a loop. Not a great sign.

Either way, we can judge what we have.

Initial Impressions

This short film is low budget to a degree, you can tell. Some clever compositing for the environment is not enough to disguise this. The costumes, though having the appearance of being made in someone’s garage, are cool, if not a little more Mad Max than they should be. Lost Boy’s arms and hands seem to be CGI, which is impressive, and his silhouette and character design are unbelievably unnerving.

Overall, the film gets a little slow half-way in, made so likely in either an effort to fill time, or as a result of the director being “artful”. I’m fine with slow, but not when I’m not receiving enough information to merit the pacing.

Performances were good, though there’s no dialogue. A female character is seen running through whatever sci-fi forest environment the film takes place in, and there’s a certain shot where Lost Boy comes barreling into frame, right on her tail, that I am absolutely going to steal.

The image of something menacing running either at the camera or after a main character, is subconsciously off-putting, and triggers the fight-or-flight response a little, even if you know you’re physically safe.

Writing/Story

I’ll skip to this section, as the acting is pretty not-spectacular. They’re basically running, strangling, and standing menacingly. Not enough to merit a discussion on performance. The most I can say is that the female actor is great at looking scared, and the actor for Lost Boy is great at looking scary and nonplussed.

For this proof-of-concept, though, I’m not expecting great displays of acting prowess. The idea is to communicate the ability to create a fictional world in which an interesting story could potentially be told. That leads directly into the writing and story.

Not much to say, really, either. The story, from what I can gather, is that Lost Boy is some kind of bounty hunter who searches for his targets and sucks out their essences to power himself, maybe? There’s a masked character at the end standing on a plateau and gazing out at the forest where the action takes place.

Who is he? No idea. I’m not supposed to know, however, as long as the writer knows who he is. If this ever gets turned into something bigger, we’ll probably know.

The story is pretty basic, just meant to stimulate instead of entertain. You’re really looking at the visuals and production design here. It’s more or less a commercial to get supporters for a final product, and so I’m reviewing it as such.

Cinematography

Beautiful, really. That’s the best way to describe it. This is an indie “film” made for however little the budget was. The fact that they got the visuals they did is inspiring. I don’t know the monetary figure they were working with, of course, but I’m impressed nonetheless.

Most, if not all, of the shots are beautifully composed and easy to look at. They’re trying to showcase the most massive and complex world they possibly can through visual imagery. I can see the type of land they’re working with, and how these characters live in it. Color is used nicely, too. The blue of the landscape is contrasted by Lost Boy’s red visor, enhancing his menacing visual quality.

I’m impressed, to say the least. They created a believable sci-fi environment in an independent film, and that is always worth talking about.

Music

The music in this film is minimal, but it adds to the feel of the story. It’s dark and ominous, just like the landscape and the characters, and works with the visuals in a few scenes to add impact to character actions.

In one shot, Lost Boy pulls the female character’s face away, which is an impressive effect by the way. The music dips once his fingers press into her head, taking a strange visual that seems visceral and unnatural and upping the discomfort.

The best way to create feeling in a movie is through music. Think of your favorite movie, then imagine it without the soundtrack. How would it be altered if the auditory half of the story was taken away? What if Indiana Jones didn’t have it’s theme song and big, orchestral interludes?

Final Thoughts

This works as a proof-of-concept film. I can see what they’re trying to do, and I’m thoroughly impressed by it. When you watch something like this, you have to excuse the fact that there’s not much story or substance, because that wasn’t the point. I’m talking about this film with that thought in mind.

The concepts present in this film are fascinating, and I would love to see a final film result from this. Whether that will happen or not? I don’t know. When your official website no longer exists and the site for the film itself looks like a virus of some kind… well, I wouldn’t put money on it.

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