Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Short Film Review: A BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY (2014) Dir: David McCool

Although the project failed to raise it's planned total, David McCool's Sponsume campaign for his first narrative short, A Bloodstained Butterfly (Krwawy Motyl) sourced enough money to make a decent little homage to the halcyon days of home video, and particularly the horror films available.
With a simple setup, Veronika (Aleksandra Rogalska) is home alone after splitting with her boyfriend, Stefan. With a glass of wine she sits flicking through her old photos, burning them along with the memories. She's interrupted by one of Stefan's friends, Henryk (writer/director McCool himself), who has heard about the couple's breakup and clearly thinks he stands a chance. She makes it clear he's too immature for her, but as the evening progresses, she may need him...
With a ten minute running time, it's difficult to say more for fear of spoiling the viewer's enjoyment, so the less said about the plot the better. What I can say is, that despite the very limited budget, and having to pare down the shoot to accommodate the restricted funds, McCool has done a great job of making a coherent, fun, and enjoyable short. There's even a successful 'jump' moment, which shows the skill of his build up.
The film also doesn't take itself too seriously. There are fake video lines and soundtrack noises to give the feel of watching an older film, as well some awkward jump cuts. Filmed in Polish, (the director is an ex-pat living there) there's also a wink to badly dubbed films with the out-of-synch dialogue - the version reviewed was subtitled although there may well be an English dubbed version sorted too at some point, which would no doubt heighten the gag.
Although there's an element of pastiche here, it's not necessarily played for laughs, more a knowing nod to a bygone age.
While it has some flaws, largely due to the finances, it's hard to knock the film as it works as what it is. One can only imagine what McCool could produce with a decent budget and a crew to help out! The whole shoot was done over a few days, not long after the Sponsume campaign ended (April 20th), and was edited and distributed to backers a little over a month later. Considering that some crowd funded films take months (or more) to get started, I feel McCool deserves a heap of praise. Not only for delivering on his promise (albeit with some concessions) but following through with his dream, and not giving up.
Taking advantage of the free music provided by techno superstar Moby (via his brilliant mobygratis.com service) really works in the film's favour as it adds a real polished soundtrack.

With any luck, A Bloodstained Butterfly will be accepted into some horror film festivals over the next few months so you can see for yourself. In the meantime, check out McCool's debut short, Sparks below for an example of the guy's talent and imagination.

You can find out more about the film by following @KrwawyMotyl on Twitter, or the director himself, . There's also a Facebook page to watch also.
7 out of 10

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