The Shortround: Risen (Review)
A chance meeting between two lonely people leads to terror as a serial murderer chooses a new victim on a night when the dead rise to feast upon the flesh of the living.
the jaded viewer says: Risen is a film that plays on fears from all angles and does it adequately enough. We get to meet two lonely people Henry (Al Mauro) and Jen (Jennifer Ward) who chance encounter at bar. Jen's drowning her sorrows after a breakup and Henry seems preoccupied. This leads to some banter between the two and our first inclination Henry was more dangerous than we realized.
Overlapping their conversation is a TV broadcast informing the public of random acts of violence which seem kinda like the dead rising from the well....dead. It's spinkled in as background and if you didn't pay attention, you'd miss it.
Soon Henry has drugged and incapacitated Jen and goes all serial killer monologuey. You know it's the same old story. Women scorns man, man goes crazy, man starts crazy killing. The first act is all set up , the second bleeds serial killer motif and the final act blends the two together with a twist you can kinda see coming.
Risen makes its case to bridge the two genres and it decent enough. I was intrigued by Henry and his instability and I wanted to see how the zombies would get into the story. At one point Henry watches a count/counterpoint mock news program as they debate on whether or not the zombies are dead or just sick. It's a mockery that's works.
What I felt was lacking was the long filler scenes of Henry doing nothing but contemplating. He also spoke in such a whisper I couldn't hear what he was saying. A slice and dice pending torture went fade to black. WTF? C'mon now. We're all grown ups here. In order to see Henry as evil and despicable we gotta see him butcher and unfortunately we don't. A a viewer, we need to see the evil first hand so when our bad bad man gets his comeuppance, it's more rewarding. I felt kinda indifferent.
Risen has creativity and that's what makes it interesting to watch. Kurczynski clearly has a good idea and he fully developed a short that will make horror fans smile.
Risen is an experiment on being different and that's what independent horror is all about.