Philadelphia, PA (PressExposure) October 22, 2013 -- The Halloween season is upon us. What better way to celebrate this terrifying season than by scaring ourselves silly at one of the many Horror Film Festivals taking place this month? This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Terror Film Festival in Philadelphia to see a ton of amazing films created by talented filmmakers who are fans of the horror genre. While I loved so many of them, I have chosen to write about the short film Ready or Not, a dark and creepy tale about a teenage girl gone off her medication and taking sibling rivalry to a whole new level.
Jessica Manherz, the screenwriter as well as producer, did an excellent job in creating high tension throughout the short film and writing realistic characters with complicated story arcs. It was like a feature film squeezed into 14 minutes. The story begins with two sisters, Paige and Ella, playing a game of hide-and-seek and ends in a blood bath. Paige, the older sister, stops taking her medication when she discovers they are not allergy pills, as she has been told, but anti-psychotics. When Ella gets Paige in trouble for something she didn't do Paige decides to get her back by any means necessary. The competition slowly escalates over the course of the movie until Paige finally goes after her entire family in order to win.
The film is well cast and three of the five actors were nominated for awards at the festival, including Marielle Meyer (Paige), Sarah Hazen (Ella), and Kristyn Carey (Sophie, the mother). Other nominations for the film included Best Original Music Score, Best Director of Photography, Best Director, and Best Horror Short. In the end the film won Best Director, an award well-deserved. John Scar obviously knew how to work well with actors to achieve the performance he needed and had a clear understanding of what look and feel he wanted for the film.
The real star of the show in my opinion is the editing. Jessica Manherz and John Scar edited the film together to achieve an amazing result. The film started off with slower, more deliberate cuts and finished fast-paced and jarring. That paired with an incredible score by Austin Lawrence forced the audience to the edge of their seats and made the film a must-see!