“HOME EDUCATION” is a short film directed by Andrea Niada and tells the story of young girl and her over-controlling mother. One who persists that if they show their dead husband/father how deeply they love, and miss him, that he will come back from the dead. But when his body in the attic bedroom begins to decompose, this young girl comes to grips with the fact her mother is failing, so she takes action.
This short film showed at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival, the Leeds International Film Festival, and is slated for more rounds on the festival circuit this year. It will be showing at this weeks Newport Beach Film Festival, and I expect it to make a strong showing because it was a well-crafted film that fits so much thought-provoking material into a very short run-time.
The cast was small, and they were extremely effective in creating an intimate portrait of this small family and their dynamics. Kate Reed as Rachel and Jemma Churchill as the demanding mother were both fantastic. Their performances make this film as impactful as the stories intention, and their chemistry was very crisp. Churchill was perfect for the role of the overbearing mother. She conveys mild amounts of fear but masks it with a stern facade of control, something Churchill captures perfectly with her expressions and physical mannerisms.
Young Kate Reed was also great in her performance. She conveys that innocent, but extremely curious little girl with precision, and at times her performance speaks louder without the dialogue. You can feel she is curious of her mothers teachings. She goes along with it, does show some faith in the knowledge of her mother, but does probe deeper for the tougher answers. All of this creates a great sense of subtle tension, that captures your attention and pulls you into the lives of these characters.
The script was very well written and creates a creepy snapshot of a much bigger story. There were strong moments of silent imagery that were incredibly intriguing as you gather clues to what the bigger picture is. Both in the characters themselves, as well as the time-period, and the social and cultural circumstances of the world around them. So with a run-time under thirty-minutes, this script was extremely effective in creating a mass of information to absorb that portrays a cold, somber, and darkly ominous world.
Andrea Niada’s writing and direction were both, precise and intentional. Something you cannot afford in a short film, is wasted minutes and “Home Education” does not waste a second. Niada’s writing was deliberate, not a word or line was wasted by these characters as they interact, and the feeling of each passing second being a smaller piece to a bigger puzzle was captivating.
Niada’s direction was also extremely methodical as you can sense each frame being of a significance. He captures the lighting and angles in a subtly effective manner that combine very well with the cold musical score to create an incredibly intriguing package of horror and dark drama. Andrea Niada delivers a great project with “Home Education” and the result was a short film that gives the impression it has so much more story to tell.
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