Dir. Richard Powell (2012)
A man battles with unseen demons trying to help him find a way out of his unhappy family situation.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
I gotta say, with this being the third week I'm reviewing a Fatal Pictures short, I'm starting to think they know what they're doing. Once again, we get a collaboration between Richard Powell and Robert Nolan, two people who I'm hoping we hear a lot more from in the future. After watching three of their shorts, I can definitely say someone needs to give these guys a big budget, feature-length opportunity. Familiar is about a man who lives in a house with his wife and daughter, who is about to go off to college. He views this as his opportunity to escape, to run away and change his life. He wants to wait until she's gone so that he can have no guilt about leaving and starting his life anew. He's excited, just waiting for the day that he can become a new man. Unfortunately for him, his wife and biology have other plans, as she announces that she's pregnant.
As someone looking to escape the guilt of doing what he wants to do, this naturally puts a huge damper on his plans. With the help of his inner monologue (think along the lines of hearing schizophrenic voices,) he decides to give his wife drugs that will induce an abortion. He knows that by dodging this metaphorical bullet, his wife's new situation doesn't change his ability to leave. Then, she gets depressed, and he realizes he still can't leave without guilt, and he must kill her to escape. Another great example of excellent writing, outstanding cinematography, and stellar acting, Familiar is more of the same from Fatal Pictures in a really, really good way. Not to mention the fantastic creature effects that were also present in Heir. These guys are doing things right in a way that very few seem to be these days. Watching Heir, Worm, and now Familiar makes me want to seek out more of Nolan's work, as I can't seem to get enough of this guy.
Putting this much content into a 20-something minute story is incredibly hard to do. Most short films are more of the "quick scare" variety, where they quickly build tension and release it in one final shock scene. Richard Powell does not go that route at all, instead choosing to build a slow burn, creepy thriller with a great payoff that fits perfectly with the rest of the story. There's no "Ahhh, it's a monster!" at the end, and there's nothing cheap about any of this. It's a great short film, I dare say a masterpiece. And yet, it's just another indication of what they're doing over at Fatal Pictures.
If you get the chance, this one, again, is definitely worth the watch. I know, for sure, that I'll be on the lookout for more Fatal Pictures films, because Powell has the Midas touch with these short films. Truly outstanding effort, deserving of all of the praise its gotten.
Who this movie is for: Short film fans, Indie horror lovers, People who enjoy good movies
Bottom Line: This is an outstanding short film. Richard Powell is a phenomenal director, and Robert Nolan needs to be well-known. It deserves so much more praise than I can give it. This one is a must see for anyone who enjoys psychological, slow burn horror flicks with legitimate acting, writing, and cinematography.