FAMILIAR (2011) Short Film Review

Directed by: Richard Powell
Starring: Robert Nolan, Astrida Auza, Cathryn Hostick

I've been hearing such good things about Fatal Pictures' FAMILIAR, and when producer Zach Green recently offered me a chance to watch and review it I ended up watching it twice in succession. It's that good.

John Dodd (Nolan) is a middle-aged man with a wife and a daughter. Although his wife (Auza) and daughter (Hostick) seem to be fairly nice, normal people, John feels a deep resentment and perhaps even hatred towards them. He sees them as something which is holding him back and he daydreams about the day his 'parasitic' daughter goes off to college. He even exclaims that "after 45 years of existence my life is about to begin"
But his plans are crushed when his wife reveals that she is pregnant. John can't stand the thought of this getting in the way of his scheme so he decides something drastic has to be done about it. As the film progresses we get the feeling that perhaps these angry and violent thoughts aren't actually John's own. Finally it all culminates in a surprisingly bloody and gory ending.

I was captivated for the entire 23 minutes of this short film. The main reason was because of Robert Nolan and the way his calm yet violent inner monologue narrates the scenes in front of us.  And his facial expressions are brilliant, particularly the way you can see him trying to conceal his hatred and bitterness.
Although the beginning is a bit of a slow burn, you can tell it's building up to something big and it is engrossing enough to keep you interested right through to the end which is well worth the wait. Astrida Auza also does a great job as Dodd's wife. Although he paints her to be some sort of evil bitch, it's easy to empathize with her character and you can see her pain clearly.

I loved pretty much every aspect of FAMILIAR. The use of Dodd's inner monologue as a way to move the story along, the range of emotions it evokes, the cinematography, and the practical effects in the film's final minutes are fantastic. In fact the only part I didn't like was the short running time and by the time it finished I wanted more. I guess that's why I watched it again.

FAMILIAR has also rekindled my interest in short horror films and I plan on seeing Fatal Pictures' previous releases as soon as I can. And I look forward to seeing a feature length film in the near future. I strongly recommend everyone see this if they get the chance, it's well worth it.

Also, if you're a fan of Robert Nolan you might want to keep an eye out for another upcoming horror short THE PROSPECTOR'S CURSE

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