This week’s #ShortMovieMonday is a film by Warren Badenski known simply as SIMON. It is available for viewing on YouTube and I’ll include it at the bottom of this review for your viewing pleasure.
SIMON (2014) tells the story of Sarah, an investigative journalist who thinks she’s found a killer. There is no evidence tying Simon to the killings that the police can act on, but Sarah (being a journalist) takes it upon herself to break into his house to see if there may be something that can crack the case. Will it lead to a dead end or something much more sinister?
SIMON is a Pick & Mix Films production. It was written and directed by Warren Badenski and stars Katie Alexander Thom and Chris Bell.
SPOILER ALERT: This review WILL talk openly about the plot of the film (which will be shown in its entirety below). If you’ve not seen it yet, scroll down, watch the movie and then come on back.
THE PLOT – We open to a scene of a man working with cellophane sheets and putting on a faceless white mask. He’s got an unconscious girl captive (Kylie May Sita) and proceeds to undress her and bind her feet and arms with tight cellophane. We get a some brief nudity here with a side nip shot and then under the saran wrap. I point this out not just because Kylie May Sita is hot, but because it’s actually a part of the story (sort of). The man, Simon (Chris Bell) stabs her in the chest, covers her body with plastic sheets and grabs a saw off the wall.
We’re told via voiceover that the body the missing 23 year old student was found dismembered and the crime fits the MO of several other similar killings in the area. During this voiceover, Simon is show washing blood off the lifeless white mask. They refer to the killer as “The Urban Ripper” and we’re shown Simon hanging the white mask on a wall along with 8 other masks.
Next we’re introduced to Sarah (Katie Alexander Thom) who is sitting outside Simon’s house waiting for him to leave. She’s an investigative reporter who’s planning on breaking into his house to look for clues to the murders. Simon leaves and she enters but doesn’t find much but a couple of locked doors and the masks on the wall. Before she can continue her search, Simon returns home and she’s forced to hide under the bed, but only after she manages to drop her drivers license on the floor (DOH!!!) She manages to escape without being detected but leaves her license behind which Simon naturally finds.
In a great little scene, Simon has a conversation with himself in the mirror and he (they) decide that she must die for trying to hunt him down. Simon goes to Sarah’s home and as she lays naked in the tub listening to her iPod he dons yet another mask, enters the bathroom and abducts her, knocking her out in the process.
When Sarh wakes she’s in Simon’s basement with her hands bound behind her and a huge bruise on her head / face. Simon wakes her and tells that he’s not going to kill her… yet. She is to be a part of his “art” and he needs to wait until her face heals. He then tells her that they’ll do an “interview” where he asks a question and she asks a question. He goes to get a camera and Sarah begins to free herself from her bonds. After the interview ends, he says that while he can’t work on her bruised face, he needs to do something to make sure that she can’t escape. He begins toward her feet with a saw but she’s saved by a doorbell. It turns out to be just a nosey neighbor checking in, but this interruption gives Sarah time to free her self from her bonds. She throws the rope away, places the saw beside her and pretends she’s still bound.
When Simon returns she makes her move but he stabs her in the gut. He turns to get the rope and she manages to extract the knife from her stomach and when he turns around she stabs him killing him. She stabs him several more times and the film ends with her walking slowly out of his basement to freedom.
THOUGHTS – This is a great little short! SIMON has a running time of just over 25 minutes and right from the beginning you’ll be on the edge of your seat. The score here is masterful and really does help to give you that horror movie vibe before the opening credits are even done playing. The opening kill scene is super creepy and I have to say I absolutley LOVE the look of the porcelin mask that Simon wears. So creepy.
She’s not on screen for very long, but Kylie May Sita does an admirable job here. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it would be to wake up wrapped so tight that I couldn’t move. As with many shorts we get right into the action with the first kill before the credits are done. The use of the voiceover to help move the story along is ingenious here and brings us right up to speed without having to show the back story of Simon.
Speaking of Simon – MAD props to Chris Bell for his work here as Simon. He pulls off the creepy vibe to a T and his scne where he goes into split personality mode and talks to himself in the mirror is flawless.
Katie Alexander Thom is superb in her role of Sarah as well. And while I’m not sure about some of the choices that the character makes, Katie does a great job acting scared when she should and strong when she can be.
We’re never really told what Simon’s “art” is all about, but I’m guessing that’s simply a matter of this being a short movie and we just don’t have the time to explore it here. I DID notice on the SIMON page of the Pick & Mix site that this is supposed to be the first part of a trilogy. Perhaps we’ll get more info about the “art” in subsequent stories?
Super silly scene where Sarah drops her license. I’m not sure I really buy the fact that a trained “investigative reporter” would make such a rookie mistake but I’ll let it slide. Also, I’m not sure that someone who’s had a knife stuck into their gut and twisted the way Sarah did would have the ability to take that knife out and kill her attacker with it. Those couple of things aside the movie is damn near perfect.
Another solid recommend on this Short Movie Monday! SIMON was really fun to watch and the performances are top notch. We get some super creepy stuff, a good kill, and some really nice dialog during the interview. I’m super stoked to find out if this is in fact the first of a trilogy and I’m excited to find out if Sarah made it out alive. It would be surprising to find out that she did after the wound she took, but I’m guessing with Simon dead she’d be the one to carry on the story.
For more information on SIMON, check out the IMBb entry for the film. You can find Pick & Mix Films on the web at www.pickandmixfilms.co.uk, on their Official Facebook page or on Twitter at @Pickandmixfilms. You can follow director Warren Badenski at @Warren_Badenski. Tell em ScareTissue sent you! Special thanks to Warren and the folks at Pick & Mix for access to their film!
Check out the full film below and leave a comment with your thoughts!