After being imprisoned for thousands of years for the murder of Odin's favorite son, Loki is finally set free into the modern world. What should have been a joyous, triumphant victory for this ancient god, quickly reverts back to anger, once he realizes that the keys to his children's prisons are missing. The good? The thieves are close by - and have no idea who they are messing with.
"Father Of Lies" offers an interesting take on the classic stories of Norse gods. What's really interesting as you watch this short film unfold, is the complete lack of empathy these beings have for humanity. It seems Shiva and D. Duckie Rodriguez, who wrote this piece, spent just as much time with this complicated concept as they did with the plot itself. I wouldn't even go so far as to say these gods are cruel, rather completely indifferent. They see humanity the same way we would look at an ant or fly. In their eyes? You can't be cruel to something you consider no better than a lowly worm - sliding it's way through life. They, including Loki, seemingly view humanity as an ant farm of sorts - and this concept greatly enhances the overall story.
While it is true that this idea can, and does make things interesting - it can't hide the low budget nature of this short film. Being no stranger to low budget movies, certain expectations are always had and considered by myself. Indie films are generally known for less than perfect technical aspects, but some great story narratives. "Father Of Lies" does have the story, but has more than a few glaring tech elements that could have been addressed. More on that below.
The general rule of thumb is to always be thinking of what you can shoot on a shoestring budget. Not what you want to shoot. The same goes double for action sequences. "Father Of Lies" attempts plenty of choreographed action, especially during the first half, that should not have been included. If it looks silly... don't put it in! That's the cold truth. I would rather see a shorter film, than to find myself chuckling over what should be considered a serious affair.
Plenty of no budget films get by using less over more. Instead of that fancy sword technique - stick with a standard slice. Or, get straight to the point without any fighting at all. "Father Of Lies" is simply over ambitious. I only write this because daily, I watch no budget movies that offer great action sequences. Their secret? Use the camera angle and sound effects to your advantage. Don't overly complicate things.
With all that written, I also should say that some of the practical effects are really awesome. These babies more than make up for some shaky fight sequences. What Loki does to Caleb looks fantastic - and even a little scary. I can't say enough how much these effects really helped with the enjoyment of this production.
Finally, I want to briefly touch up on the acting itself. Very... unbalanced. I flip-flopped with my thoughts on the performances all the way through the film. Clearly, the cast have some talent because at times, they all pulled off great performances. But then, there was some completely cheese-y acting as well. I recall Caleb's daughter Ashley finding her father, missing his eyes, and reacting the same way as myself when I drop a pencil. No scream, just some huffing and a question. Let me tell you... if I found my father, with his eyes plucked out in the woods... I would scream. No shame in that. I would be frantic.
At the end of the day, "Father Of Lies" is an above average short film that could have been so much more. Still worth watching? Hell yeah! The cool story, excellent practical effects and mostly decent performances - easily tip the scales past the average mark. No question. Did this film feel a little rushed at times? Yes. Did it feel more like an episode than a film? Yes. But you simply can't hide a good concept. My thoughts on this short film? A solid three stars - and that ain't bad.