Silently Within Your Shadow
Dir. Scott Lyus (2015)
A stage ventriloquist treats her dummy like he's real, and her boyfriend constantly has to fight for her attention.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
What is it that's so creepy about dolls? Ventriloquist dummies have helmed countless scary movies and books, from R.L. Stine's Goosebumps to Dead Silence and Magic. They just might be the scariest of the all dolls, as it's awful hard to even look at them without feeling a chill up your spine.
Silently Within Your Shadow focuses on one of these dummies and his relationship with his owner. She's a stage performer, he's part of her act, and she's developed a special bond with him. Her boyfriend is none too happy that the dummy shares their space, feeling like he's a toy that's best kept put away. Of course, the dummy is as unhappy with the arrangement as he is.
When the boyfriend makes a power move to cut the dummy out of his lovelife, things naturally go awry and the dummy gets his revenge. A short on the shorter end, Silently Within Your Shadow is brief, succinct, and fairly powerful for such a short runtime. The acting is sufficient, though not stellar, but the dummy is creepy enough to make up for it. Well directed, well written, and, again, legitimately creepy, Silently Within My Shadow is definitely worth the watch if you get the chance. Written and directed by Scott Lyus, with House of 1000 Corpses star Bill Moseley providing the voice of the dummy Hugo, you can definitely see why this short film won so many awards at the various film festivals it's been to. It's very difficult to make a short film that's worth watching at all, much less one that provides a plot that actually works and has decent character development, but SWMS handles its plot well and shows that big things can come in small packages.
Bill Mosely alone is worth the price of admission. The camerawork has a dreamlike haze, helping to contribute to the believability of the concept, and it's a well-executed plot. The dummy is by far the star of the short, not to take anything away from the acting. I can say, however, that this one probably would've benefited from being a little longer. Lyus deftly got everything across to the viewer, but a little buildup to the scares might've served the film well. For what it is, it's an excellent effort, and I look forward to seeing more from Lyus and Crossroad Pictures in the future.
Who this movie is for: Short film lovers, Indie film fanatics, Dummies
Bottom Line: Short review, short movie, but definitely not a film to sleep on. Good direction and script, along with the legendary Bill Moseley, make this one worth a watch. I highly recommend that you check it out if you get the chance, because Scott Lyus is something special in the making.