Despite its production flaws, I still couldn't help but enjoy "Spirit the Red Rider" from writer / director Chris Carter. Basing my opinion on the production and post-production elements alone would be unfair here. We all know it's a low budget indie film - and I can, and will point out some of the issues I had with it but there's something more here. Sometimes a film is more than the sum of its parts. Sometimes there's that magical little something that just works and no matter how hard you try and break it down, in an attempt to understand why it shouldn't work, you just can't. That's the case here and because of that little somethin' something, I found I really enjoyed my few minutes watching.
Basically, "Spirit the Red Rider" is a biblical based science fiction short. Spirit is one of the four horsemen, err, woman. She is sent to Earth to stop the hellish demon baddies from eating from the tree of life. It's all starts off very much the story of Lucifer and really does feel biblical. By the end however, the science fiction breaks through in a weirdly Star Wars way. Yes reader, that includes a climax that reveals lightsabers. Like... actual ones I believe. It all sounds kind of silly and in truth, it actually is. But it also worked for me - refer back to section one.
So, let us jump into some of the technical issues I had with one thing in mind. Yes, this is a low budget film but most of what I'm going to write about would have cost nothing to deal with. Or next to nothing. Right from the start, it was really hard to hear the narration of Spirit. The background score drown her out, especially during the second half. After that I have to admit, some of the fast edits and wonky transitions really didn't work. This was all mixed up stock footage that was easily separated by the filmed content. Most of the filmed content was shaky and very overexposed. Not everything was like this, and some good shots did exist but mostly, you could instantly tell what Carter and his crew had created.
And about those fast edits? "Spirit the Red Rider" was incredibly jumpy when talking about the pacing. Those weird edits combined with some unusual choices of transitions made for a slightly clunky feeling narrative. To be honest? In a lot of places, this short film felt more like a trailer. An advert for an upcoming film. On the plus side of things, I loved the way the angelic language was presented. Eerie and creepy and so very different from our own. I also loved the masks used in this film. Very nice to generate an atmosphere.
When it's all said and done, as I wrote above this film on technical merits alone should have been really hard to watch. Yet it zipped by and was over before I knew it. Even cooler was the fact I never thought about hitting the stop button. Never even occurred to me, because my eyes were glued to the screen. Perhaps Ana Goodwin, who was the leading lady, has that special something. Perhaps it's just the combination of everything but one thing is for certain. This was a decent short film that was over before it's time. Maybe not Oscar-worthy, but still well worth a watch.