The Elemental

**

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a heavy-handed horror short, attempting to juxtapose the supernatural with the very real terrors of old age and abandonment. It doesn't fail utterly, but it signposts its intentions so blatantly it feels clumsy more often than it feels scary.

Shot in Edinburgh with some exteriors in Glasgow it's a domestic product. The cast are television veterans, those behind the scenes less so. Writer and director Robert Sproul-Cran is new to this business, and he's certainly technically competent. The film's website lovingly details the creature and prosthetic effects, though they are only briefly present in the film.

The Elemental is perhaps overly fond of sudden jump cuts, so many and so frequently that it might warrant a strobe warning. It also telegraphs its intentions more than clearly, indeed, the opening features a street preacher railing about "the evils of neglect" while an Alzheimer's charity collector looks on. It shares a mention of woodlice with another EIFF short, Honest John, and is part of a strong genre presence within the shorts programmes. For a debut work, it's not bad, and it succeeds in scaring. Sadly, it's neither particularly original nor particularly satisfying - there's a real sense that it's trying too hard to be a subtle work about the horrors of age, or a gonzo fright fest, and while the two aren't necessarily incompatible they are a little jarring here.

Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2009
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An elderly couple are starving in a condemned tenement, trapped by their terror of a creature on the stair.
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Director: Robert Sproul-Cran

Year: 2008

Country: UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2009

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