Short Film Review: KAL-The Clown

January 17, 2017

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

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A young woman sits in her apartment watching a movie when the doorbell rings. She answers it and finds a slightly damaged package lying in the doorway. Upon opening the package she finds a creepy clown marionette stuffed inside. It’s holding a note that looks like it was written by a child just learning to write. The note says “My name is KAL”. She closes up the box and goes back to her movie, but she will find that her “little guest” will not be ignored. Soon enough she may learn exactly what fuels people’s Pupaphobia and Coulrophobia (that’s the fear of puppets and clowns to you and me Rusty).

The film was directed by Carlos Omar de León from a script he co-wrote with Vince Phrommany. Their story combines two elements that have been used to play on people’s fears for many a year – clowns and puppets/dolls. This particular puppet even bears a resemblance to the kind of clown one might see in Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t provide any real scares except for those that may be experienced by those who suffer from the aforementioned phobias. Still, I am acutely Coulrophobic and it didn’t do anything to me.

Including the ending credits this film clocks in at 2 minutes and 25 seconds in length. Regardless of the fact that it’s supposed to be a short film, a little more time could have been used to heighten tension and create legitimate scares. There were also little inconsistencies that also hampered this film.

The lead actress, Noelle Hanson, gave a rather flat performance. There was no authentic sense of surprise, confusion or terror to be seen in her portrayal. The antagonist of the film, KAL, just doesn’t come across as menacingly as he could. Granted he’s a puppet, but a little ingenuity and some visual cheats could increase the scare factor.

As far as the visual aspects of the film, camera movement, shot framing, the use of low key lighting and editing were all well done.

Overall, this short film seemed like film school project or a piece for a 24 hour horror film contest. It’s not a bad concept by any means, albeit a very familiar one. It looked fine but definitely needed to allow some more time to create legitimate scares.

Having worked on indie and student films myself, I don’t see failure here as much as potential waiting to be tapped. So KAL, I ‘m giving you 6 / 10

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