Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Short film review: PICKET (2014, directed by Izzy Lee)

picket izzy lee
With the recent passing of gay-bothering 'pastor' Fred Phelps recently, it's timely that this short should find it's way to me. Phelps, of course was the founder of a 'church' which advocated his 'followers' standing outside funerals waving ant-gay and other offensive placards. Free speech does indeed seem to bring the moron out of some people.
picket izzy lee diana porter

In Picket, we have one such person (Diana Porter) whom we see painting her vile messages on a collection of boards ready to protest.On the radio, a preacher is spouting some thinly veiled hatred of things, as they do. The woman making the signs is arranging a meeting over the phone. A suitcase containing several bundles of cash is open in front of her. She's talking about picking up a package from a political lobbyist, which would help her group, "get their point across"; "people should realise that they could go to hell".
picket izzy lee christian masters
Early next day, she arrives to a seemingly deserted building. She takes a look around while waiting for the lobbyist (Christian Masters). A child's doll, which looks like it could have been there some time, is lying creepily abandoned on the floor. Except there's something in the shadows...
Written and directed by Izzy Lee, whose debut short Legitimate (2013) did really well at several US festivals, this is an effectively shocking short (clocking in at under 5 minutes) which works wonderfully. The sinister looking building where the woman is to meet the senator is a prime example of perfect location. The lighting, eerie music and makeup effects are pretty damn good for a low budget horror short too.
picket izzy lee diana porter sarah paterson
Lee manages to create the right amount of tension and anxiety from the moment we enter the building. Bryan McKay, who handled the visuals/editing, does a great job of giving the film a very cinematic look. With such a short running time, you have to get to the action/shocks and it's to Lee's credit that she holds back as long as she can to increase the fear, before unleashing a rightful retribution to someone who has been using a so-called God to spread what actually amounts to personal hate. Is what's in the shadows sent from the Divine to pass judgement (a gospel song begins playing as the tension builds), or is it his opposite; unhappy that so many 'sinners' are sent his way? By the time the lobbyist arrives, there's no sign of her and whatever dirty, underhand dealings that were going to take place are replaced by something more nasty. Only seen fleetingly, perhaps wisely as the best scares often come from what we don't see, is Sarah Paterson whose demonic image will be burned into the viewer's nightmares for a while.
picket izzy lee sarah paterson
It's amazing that there are so many talented people coming up with some fantastic short horror films lately. If even only half of these manage to catch a big break, the future of the genre will be in safe hands. I suspect Izzy Lee may well be one of those. 
With any luck, Picket will make its way online or the festival circuit soon, so seek it out if you can.

8 out of 10

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