Just how do you tell if you've lost your mind, or if perhaps, you are haunted? Yes readers. By haunted I mean in the traditional sense. Ghosts and whatnot. The symptoms could potentially be the same right? Eerie sights and sounds. Strange feelings - and even visual experiences. Sure. It could be a ghost - but you could also have just lost it... as they say. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but this was the question I found myself asking - after watching this short film from Richard Miller. Was our protagonist actually seeing a ghost? Or did he just fly off the deep end and hasn't quite recovered yet? The question makes this an interesting film - and the atmosphere was near perfect for creating that very question.
In a nutshell? Ryan is a seemingly normal chap, who at the current moment, is fighting back his anger. His girlfriend seems more interested in her phone and friends than him. I'm sure many of us can relate to that annoying buzz of a busy cell phone - and Ryan's girlfriend seems quite popular. Beaten down by her lack of interest in him, Ryan decides to take a bath - and that's when things begin to happen. You want ghosts? You got them - well - one anyhow. The rest of this short film follows Ryan as he investigates the ghostly apparition. In the tried and true tradition of film however, not everything is quite what it seems. One thing is for certain though - "Night Tide" captures that eerie feeling of dread and tension - no question about that. For me it was a quick, entertaining film that did, indeed, surpass my expectations.
Technically, I was taken aback by the perceived production value of this short. With so little visual and social media stimulus, I wasn't really expecting much. Currently, there's not even a trailer. At some point I'm sure marketing material issues will be addressed - but for me at the moment, there really wasn't much to see. Once I hit that play button however, I knew this wasn't going to be what I expected. A lesson in judging a book by it's cover no?
"Night Tide" is definitely not a cheap looking short film. Stacked with some excellent, and interesting, cinematography and framing - it's a treat to watch. No question. The audio, through my studio monitors was crisp and clear - but did feature a mix-down that was not quite even. Sounds effects, and the backing score, completely obliterated any dialog that happened to be spoken as it played. Just to be sure, I watched a few movie trailers and didn't have the same problem, so I know it was the film itself. This slight issue didn't hinder my enjoyment of the movie at all - but was noticeable.
The coloring felt strange to me at first, but after adjusting, I actually think it helped build the tension in the movie. "Night Tide" features what I can only call a low contrast background, with a high contrast foreground. For example, Ryan himself looks great but the background feels flat. Again, I'm simply nit-picking and generally speaking, "Night Tide" is a stylized, great looking piece.
We don't get to see much acting from Ryan's girlfriend, save the dismissing attitude that happens to be handled rather well. I can't count the amount of times my wife gives off those same vibes... but all joking aside, the actors both did a great job here. For Ryan, that annoyed - tired and lonely feeling came through loud and clear. For the big reveal at the end? I can't really speak to that - without giving things away - but again, Gavin Fowler as Ryan played his part excellently. Great job.
At the end of the day, there really is nothing ground breaking here - but that doesn't mean this wasn't a good film. I wasn't blown away during the big reveal at the end, but nothing surprises me anymore. How sad is that? "Night Tide" succeeds with some good acting, some cool visual experiences, and an atmosphere that so many indie filmmakers would kill to achieve. And it's quick. Quick enough to do the trick and get the hell out. Thumbs up cast and crew- a solid three and a half stars.
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