It may have felt a little tough at times, but my thoughts on the story within the short film "Scrying" boiled down to one thought. Two people with some serious mental issues coming together. A love story of sorts - or the start of a horror film, depending on how you see things. Matti Leinikka and Eddie Smucygz, who wrote and directed this film, have no issues letting potential viewers know this isn't a standard movie. They promise a film for the lost souls of the world. A movie for the anti - (insert various clinical terms here) people who rarely get represented as anything more than a villain... or someone to feel sorry for. The underdogs of the visual medium we call film or television. This could have all worked out excellently, and there are some definite highlights within the fifteen minute length; yet there are also lots of problems. Both technically and with the execution itself. More on that below.
Included in the description, as almost an apology, "Scrying" defines itself as being unconventional in it technical elements. No problem. This is a low budget indie after all. I believe it's stated that this film is pretty much all hand-held - to showcase the chaos of the main characters themselves. This is a statement I have read a hundred times before, and will probably see a thousand times in the future. To be blunt? It never sits well with me. Everyone starts somewhere. There's no reason to try and hide it - just flat out say we used what we had. To gain experience you simply have to do something. No shame in starting out. Moving on...
Yes. I have seen plenty of movies that use the shaky camera within certain moments. To emphasize a scene or plot-point within the story. I have also seen excellent films that use the technique throughout. Yet it's different. The shots may be shaky, but still polished and planned. "Scrying" is shaky, it stutters, looses focus, and is exactly what you think it is. Someone holding a phone or lower grade camera and filming. In the world of today, when you can pick up small, cheap tripods for under ten bucks, I never understood why people still shoot this way. Barring reality or documentary films. Why would anyone want to distract their viewers to the point of sickness? Why would anyone want to make a film where a viewer struggles to follow along with the basics of the production? Where even seeing what is happening is tough? It seems to me that if you want the recognition of making and finishing a film - at least care enough to use a tripod.
Other issues with this title include a hard to follow plot, and some random filler smushed into the final edit. "Scrying" really is seriously hard to follow. At least for me. I'm not even totally sure I understood the story enough for the description I wrote above. Filled with random shots, such as cuts of a goldfish for no reason, meld with the phone-styled camera work to make this a tough one. Even the title of the movie itself makes no sense to me. It is possible I'm not up to date with the modern internet lingo, but scrying is a form of psychic gazing. A great example is that of a fortune teller, reading the future over their crystal ball. I don't see how this has any bearing on the film, even of the shrink delivering his mental assessment throughout the movie.
It may seem like I'm being harsh, but that's not intentional. I'm simply being real. The truth is that "Scrying" isn't all bad, as my rating reflects. A low budget hand-held indie film, that scores slightly above average with a two - is really quite good considering. There general concept here is a good one - I even found some nice edits along the way. The way a certain suicide was handled at the end of the film was excellent - from a production point of view. This film really does have some good points scattered around. Overall, "Scrying" is quick and watchable. I just wish a less, as it's put, experimental approach was taken. Had a little more care been put into the production itself, this would have been a truly great short film. It's not always about the money you have to spend, it's about the time you take to do.