Watch: Paradox (Short Film)

I don't often get to talk about Fantasy/Thriller films. It's a hard combination to pull off. You're basing a film in a world where the normal laws of society and science no longer apply and trying to make it scary and suspenseful for an audience. You're asking them to suspend disbelief and become invested in characters facing strange circumstances at the same time. That's tricky to get right. Jeremy Haccoun comes closer than a lot of filmmakers before him. In his short film Paradox, two men from two different time periods find themselves trapped in the bottom of a well. The one man claims to be prisoner at an old castle, thrown in the well for solitary confinement. The other claims to have fallen in by accident while installing brackets above the well in his garden. The two argue back and forth about their respective time periods, neither one quite connecting that something is off with the scenario. There is only one way out of the well, but it will take both of them to do it.

Paradox's strength, much like the original Saw film, comes from being set almost entirely in the one confined location. It's claustrophobic--almost Gothic in appearance--and an imposing enemy for the two men trapped in some kind of time shift. The screenplay is tight, setting up the logical loop that traps the two men without seeming needlessly repetitive. The score is done with a heavy hand that a short film needs to seem as impactful as a full length feature. My only issue with the film is the twist ending. It makes sense in context. It just feels like there might have been a more satisfying conclusion to this particular narrative.

The twenty minute short is embedded below the jump. It's worth watching.

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