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Beneath (2011)

Video  -  Short | Adventure | Mystery
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Humanity has ended and nature has reclaimed the World. Amidst it all a lone boy and girl travel the unknown planet, searching for the last great secret the Earth has to give. But they are ... See full summary »

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Humanity has ended and nature has reclaimed the World. Amidst it all a lone boy and girl travel the unknown planet, searching for the last great secret the Earth has to give. But they are hunted by a force determined to beat them to it. An independent alternate sci-fi short, made with a crew of 3 and a cast of 2 on a shoestring budget. Written by Anonymous

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It is a pitch and a derivative scenario but has good delivery and tension
14 April 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I recently watched a sci-fi short from Al White called Choose; it had been made in less than 48 hours and although it had its limits, I had quite liked how well he had made it and was interested to see more of his work. This short film is also sci-fi and is set in a future where humanity has pretty much come to an end with major cities broken and so much reclaimed by nature. We hear something of an infection and attempts to control it but now we join a man and woman alone in the world with little other contact – they are seeking something admit the dangers of the natural world, although they are not the only ones as a much, much better equipped force is after the same thing.

The film ends with some words after the credits about this film being just a taste of the world of Beneath and then provides information about how to support it being developed into something bigger; this is a noble goal and White deserves credit for what he did here and what he wants to do, but the "first step" feeling does limit the film a bit. To speak to its strengths, the film is very nicely put together and it seems for really very little money. Although it is derivative, the sense of the world being ended is well conveyed by the location shooting in Scotland (no offence Scotland). The use of effects in the distance also tends to be the familiar buildings etc that we have seen before, but in this short they are easier to forgive due to the constraints. What I liked the most was that it did have actual tension in it and in particular some disorientating scenes of unknown threat and limited defences added to the sense of being alone and with little hope. It is a shame then that the narrative is to be revealed in a bigger project rather than here, because although it hints at the nature of The Cub and the nature of the remains of society, it doesn't do too much with them so you do end the film feeling a little disappointed that it couldn't have been more self-contained – but this is a common problem with these "think what I could do with more" short films.

Ishida (also in Choose) does a very good job in the lead, he is convincing in his urgency, thus helping the film. With Wadsworth I felt the opposite – she never really sells the scenario as well as Ishida and this shows. White's direction, use of effects and music are all good and it is impressive what he did here when you read how little resources he had available. It is still a rather derivative scenario that is a pitch for a bigger project, but while it has those weaknesses it does still work well thanks to the overall delivery from White and an engaging turn from Ishida.


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