Deviling is a short film released in 2011 by filmmaker Michael Sharpe. Mr. Sharpe reached out to ScareTissue to see if we could post a review and I’m absolutely thrilled that he did. The film has won several awards including Best Short Film at the 2013 Peculiar Film Festival as well as Best Actor (Robert Haulbrook) 2012 NJ Horrorfest. After watching the film I can definitely say that it deserves the accolades that it has already received.
This short (running time of just over 14 minutes) tells the story of Ronald (Robert Haulbrook) who is a mortician obsessed with his ex-girlfriend Sharlene (Jodi Essex). Ronald continues to call Sharlene professing his love for her and eventually resorts to threatening her when she doesn’t return his feelings. I won’t go into a full plot summary here but I’ll say this… it’s well worth your time to check it out.
The cast is small with only 3 people. In addition to the aforementioned Haulbrook and Essex, Tommy Allen Taylor plays a corpse who takes a beating. It doesn’t shock me at all that Haulbrook has won awards for his performance here. It’s amazing. He’s SUPER creepy and portrays it to perfection. Essex does well with limited screen time (even for a short film). At the beginning of the film I would have thought she should have been more scared based on Ronald’s advances, but toward the end she really brings a great performance. The situation she’s put in is one of my personal worst nightmares and she conveys it perfectly.
As ScareTissue is a horror movie review site, I always like to include this section. There isn’t one bit of gore here in Deviling, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s not scary. This is a horrific assault on your psyche that will definitely make you squirm at the end of the night. The look, the sounds, the dialog and the way it’s all fit together by director Michael Sharpe all make for a beautiful “horror” experience that simply won’t make you miss the gore.
This film looks AMAZING. It doesn’t look or sound like many independent films. It reminded me very much of an excerpt from Tales From The Darkside or Tales From The Crypt. It’s a self contained story that is quick and concise with no wasted dialog or movement. One thing that I will say. This is a very “dark” film and I don’t mean in subject matter. There’s quite a few night scenes or scenes where the picture is overall very dark. The first time through I was watching on my iPad and because of this I was getting a lot of glare. It’s certainly not the fault of the film but just an observation. When I watched it again in a better environment (via Apple TV) it was beautiful.
As this is a short film, I asked for and received Michael Sharpe’s permission to post the film in its entirety here for you to enjoy. Please do and pass it along! If you haven’t guessed so far, this is a strong recommend. Thanks again to Michael Sharpe for access to his picture and for his permission to post it.
Have you seen Deviling yet? Please give it a watch and let us know what you think by posting a comment below!