Horror-on-Sea Short Film Review – Afraid of the Dark
When the lead character (Jay Willoughby) finds himself locked in the bathroom, he starts to experience strange events which leads him to believe that he may not be alone.
Afraid of the Dark is the latest short horror film from director Tony Waghorne, who had previous success last year with the award-winning student horror short I See You (2017). Working again with the same team and produced under the company name Eyes Forward Productions, Tony looks to deal once again with people’s deepest fears once again; especially if you’re afraid of the dark!
Taking a more simplified approach compared to their previous film, Afraid of the Dark confines the main action in just the one room to help create a tense claustrophobic atmosphere – which exploit the main themes of the title. Delivering more than just a slow build up to the inevitable jump scare, the film brilliantly incorporates a multitude of ideas into the location short running time; continuously changing the direction and emotive of the scene to toy with the audience.
The use of special effects in the film are kept to a minimum, with the main ambience of the film built around the music, clever lighting and creative camerawork; although they do manage to create a memorable impact when they are briefly introduced.
The score and understated use of sounds play an important part in building a sense of trepidation throughout the film, and in the case of the phone ringing a sense of reassurance. I was impressed how the subtle use of sound with the score continued to change the tone of the film. Horror films often maintain a monotonous tone to build an anticipation with the with the score, or gradually builds with the scene to heighten the moment. With Afraid of the Dark, the sounds and music and used to intermittently change your focus, continuously shifting the momentum and motives of the scene.
The fear may be derived from the darkness when the light goes out, but the use of lighting along with the unorthodox angles and gliding movements of the camerawork intensifies the moment – as he finds himself transfixed with fear and unable to move.
One of my favourite moments is when the elements all come together. When the lights go out he is left with just the glowing screen light from his phone, which in the darkness barely lights his face. After hearing a sound from behind, as he begins to turn towards the sound the camera gradually begins to follow him around. It is a simple but extremely effective scene, with the combines elements building on the events which had occurred before.
Jay Willoughby takes the lead in the film and following previous collaborations is no stranger to the horror genre as he finds himself once again as the tormented victim. The focus of the film is on Jay who does a great job in front of the camera, as he engages with the audience with his overstated reactions and continuous change in emotions.
With the build-up of tension and themes of the film, there may be some comparisons with David F. Sandberg short and feature of the same name Lights Out (2013), (2016). However, with the multi-layered concepts and visual executions Afraid of the Dark, it manages to stand out on its own – showing once again what can be achieved without a reliance on special effects.
As student filmmakers, Tony Waghorne proved that they are brilliant storytellers with their breakthrough film I See You; which has the accolade as being the only student film to have been shown at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival. I am certain that Afraid of the Dark will continue to build on their previous success, as the film showcases how Tony Waghorne and his team have evolved as filmmakers. Incorporating a multitude of techniques and ideas, they have once again impressed with the delivery which displays a very different side to their filmmaking. It is great to see how quickly they are emerging as part of the next generation filmmakers and with time on their side, I am looking forward to seeing what they are going to produce in the future!
The horror short Afraid of the Dark will be playing it Horror-on-Sea before the world premiere of the feature film Space Ninjas (2018)
You can find out more about the feature films playing at Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and details of tickets on the website.
You can find out more about Afraid of the Dark and other films from Tony Waghorne and Eyes Forward Productions by following on social media
You can watch at Afraid of the Dark and I see You (2017) which played at Horror-on-Sea in 2017 below:
Afraid of the Dark
I see You
A Brilliant Story in a Breakthrough Film
As student filmmakers, Tony Waghorne proved that they are brilliant storytellers with their breakthrough film I See You; which has the accolade as being the only student film to have been shown at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival