Harry Metcalfe, John Ferrer
Bloody brilliant! If this killer short film doesn't get expanded into a full movie or a full-on series, then there is indeed something wrong with this world. I would watch so much more of this! No joke – I'm ready to pre-commit hours of my life - set aside time in advance right now if we can just get a few more morsels of this delightfully wicked slice of entertainment. "Trial 22" feels like we're watching an idea that has no limitations, and if the execution continued to be as good as what we see in this short film, then as far as I'm concerned, this trial could go on forever, and I'd happily consume more.
Let's see here, what can I tell you? I don't want to give too much away because you really only get about eight minutes or so of "Trial 22," and the best advice I can give you straight off the top is to simply watch this for yourself – you won't regret it. If you're a fan of Horror/Mystery, there are very few examples I'd be able to think of that could possibly be a better use of your next eight minutes. From the moment this trial begins, the intensity comes along with it. We're talking about a film that dips into feeling like it's part "Cube," part "Raze," and part "Escape Room" combined, with a main creature that would have been right at home in the realm of "Pan's Labyrinth." Do you get where I'm going with an assessment like that? You get the smarts & creepiness of "Cube," the action and brutality of "Raze," the horror elements/atmosphere of something like "Escape Room," and a creature that'll continue to haunt your nightmares long after this short film is over. This trust-no-one scenario moves quickly & gets more vicious as it continues forward, and you'll be on the edge of your seat to watch every second of it unfold. I think what I really loved most about "Trial 22" was that, even though I was able to draw comparisons to other movies I'd seen in the past that resembled a piece or two of it, no singular comparison would be enough to cover it all.
Directed by John Ferrer, who co-wrote the script with Harry Metcalfe, "Trial 22" feels remarkably fresh and inspired, even if you feel like you can make a comparison or two. I felt like they absolutely nailed this as tight as tight can be. The visual shots are perfect, the music and sound added in were a huge part of what creates the intensity we feel, and the choice of cast was spot-on with absolutely no weak points. Do we want MORE of what we get in "Trial 22?" Hell, yes, we do! We might need a few more cast members for a twenty-third trial, if you catch my drift, but regardless, that's one of the highest compliments you can ever pay to a film of any kind. Wanting more is always a great thing when all the details are there; it's only when you want more because something got overlooked that it can become a bad thing, but Metcalfe/Ferrer made sure "Trial 22" had absolutely everything it needed.
Here's the basic gist without giving you the full scope of what you'll see. Imagine being locked in a room that does have a way out – an escape room scenario of sorts – where there's a monster sitting across from you in a box that can't see but can hear, and within about five minutes, the whole place is going to go pitch black. If that sounds scary, frantic, and intense, that's because it IS! Ferrer does an incredible job of getting his cast to respond to this scenario and humanizes them all in the strangest of ways too. As in, we're not all good people on this planet, and survival scenarios can actually end up bringing out the worst in us too. "Trial 22" makes you question what you'd do if you were involved in such a horrific underground experiment & the lengths you'd go to in order to save yourself, even at the cost of others. We're not talking about a huge room either, y'all - it's small enough to give you that claustrophobic feeling in addition to being scared of the creatures, in addition to having to be wary of the people around you, in addition to having to push past any fears of the dark you might have as well. "Trial 22" has no qualms about twisting the knife into what makes you squeamish and making sure you feel that way. Plus – the creature is nothing short of awesome, straight up.
There are so many creature films out there that have decent ideas that are pretty much dead on arrival - because the monster we see snaps us out of our suspension of disbelief – but that's not the case here, not remotely, not at all. The creature designer, Rebecca Wheeler, ultimately deserves a massive amount of credit for coming up with something that looks so freakishly frightening - that it actually IS visually scary to anyone that would watch. She's done an impeccable job and, as a result, gives "Trial 22" every chance to succeed as it should with the script and cast that it has. All-in-all, they've left no stone unturned here. The acting is great, the visuals and direction are solid, the idea is perfectly executed, and everything looks nicely polished. I'm going with a wildly enthusiastic four & a half stars out of five – I want a whole lot more trials in the future. A movie, a series, whatever we can get & however it comes, this has to continue!