There's Something Out There

Dir: Brian Pulido
Star: Patti Tindall, Scott Jordan, Phil Blackmen, Zack Miller

This 16-minute short was financed through writer-director Pulido selling his comic collection on Ebay; going by the resulting slew of film-festival selections and awards, the world has been waiting for a movie about a psychopathic garden gnome that terrorizes a suburban couple. I repeat: garden gnome. Noises in the night, husband goes to investigate - mayhem ensues. Shot over three days in Pulido's own house, credit is due for using 16mm, rather than the DV favoured by 99% of low-budget film-makers these days. Though clearly not to be confused with Something is Out There, one wonders why they didn't pick a less blandly generic title: Gnome Alone, perhaps, or A Gnome in the Dark.

However, that might conflict with the picture's tone, which isn't jokey, despite the premise. It's played dead straight, and once we get past the false scares (which are unnecessary, especially given the film's length, or lack thereof), Pulido and lead actress Tindall ratchet up the tension with admirable skill. Probably wisely, the gnome is rarely glimpsed in motion, yet still becomes a malevolent character, right up until the highly satisfying twist ending. The aim is to use this as a calling-card for a full horror feature - perhaps even a killer-gnome movie - and as such, I suspect it might well have the intended effect.

January 2005

This gnome ain't laughing...
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