Kevin Cappiello, Stephen Bell
Creepypastas, those horror legends of the internet. Perhaps one of the most famous, Slenderman, has pretty much become the unofficial mascot of these scary tales - but Slenderman is far from a one-off, and many people are patiently waiting for the next big thing. But perhaps it's not the "next big thing" we should be worried about, but rather, the one that is lurking just below the surface of popularity. One like the website in this short story... the Black Orchid Challenge.
In this short film, a live-streamer seems open to almost any challenge, and also seems to get a lot of jump scare material to try out. We all know what I'm talking about... a picture, video, or game that tricks us into thinking it's harmless and then BAM! Jumpscare. Just after the live-streamer of this film gets a scare from a "maze game" she just finished, she is then given a link to a website. That site? Black Orchid Challenge.com - and in case you're wondering, yes, the site is real and just waiting for you to visit. Anyhow, the streamer hits the start button on the site and begins her quick journey to the depths of hell. Well, maybe not hell, but it might as well be. I'm not going to spoil how it all ends, but the real fun of this short film is the trip itself. Got four minutes? If you do, "Black Orchid Challenge" is most definitely worth the time. No question.
My only real concern when discussing this short film is that it really does ride the line of what I would consider an actual movie. I grappled with this chain of thinking and eventually just gave up. Cappiello's short does have a start, middle, and ending - but only just. It really is more akin to being a video - there is a difference. But there is also something cinematic present, so I'll leave for its viewers to decide if this is an actual movie, or just a video. I will write this however, had there been more meat on the bone of this short film, without question, I would have given a higher rating. That's meant as a compliment - it's not often a viewer wishes for more length when it comes to low-budget film.
What "Black Orchid Challenge" does do well, is create an atmosphere of creeping dread. There's no horse and pony show, you know exactly whats going to happen - and yet that feeling of dread continues to rise. The vibe of this short film is what so many filmmakers attempt to create, and fail miserably at. For a four-minute short to accomplish this feat is just awesome - and is what my rating was based upon.
At the end of the day, this is four minutes of time well spent. This flick is creepy, it's done very well, and just does the trick overall. I can't say everyone is going to dig this one, but those who thrive on the "creep" factor will surely enjoy this. For what it is, a one actor, one location kind of film - "Black Orchid Challenge" exceeded my expectations completely. Well done, thumbs up.