A short film review by P.J. Griffin
A while back, I wrote an article about the boom of online horror shorts that are scaring up…well, the scares, on the World Wide Web. I had been getting into the medium for a year or so prior to writing said article, but the final push towards motivating me to do such a piece was when I was sent Alfredo Abaunza’s film Family. It was a lot of fun and had so much spirit that I was inspired not only to write about it, but also to check out what else the filmmaker had done. I saw several other fantastic shorts of his and recently had the good fortune of being able to take a look at his latest. It was a more psychological style film called Nothing but Ants.
The viewer begins the experience with the loud sounds and visuals of an everyday crowded public area, contrasted by the stark quiet of the opening credits spliced in. It makes a bold, strong statement that what we are about to witness is serious and rooted in realism. Right off the bat I felt a sense of unseen danger; the chaos among the normally mundane.
From there, Nothing but Ants takes the viewer on a journey surrounding a day in the life of a young man. As with any short work, to explain too much would be to give away most of the project. I will say that the film gives the viewer a thorough and introspective look into the character’s mind in an impressively short time. It does this while still keeping the audience at bay and separated from the primary person of interest. We are shown what he has to deal with, how he is seen by others. His true state and inner turmoil are only shown to us in glimpses.
The use of locations provides a feeling of both intimacy and legitimacy. The subway, the landscapes, and the outside atmosphere all give the film an ominous feel that carries throughout. The tension builds in such a way where every moment starts to take on its own sinister tone. The music and dialogue are both minimalist, which only accents how strongly they work together. The acting and editing also compliment each other wonderfully and help the film itself leave an impression.
To give away much more would only unravel the tightly wound scenario, but I will say that it’s a film you may find yourself wanting to revisit once it’s all over. It is a thrilling piece that shows the broad talents of the filmmaker. It ends on a bold note, solemn and perfectly in line with the overall feeling of the project.
Nothing But Ants has been entered into several current festivals and will soon after be available to view online. It’s a project that I recommend checking out when possible. It’s a consistent piece of suspense that will stay with you once the final credits have rolled.