A disturbed, gynophobic loner, Norman, has a secret love, quite literally, and on St. Valentine's Day he's going to make sure that Elena stays with him forever. Realising that something terrible is about to happen to her, Elena summons the last of her fear fuelled adrenalin and fights back but in so doing leaves her freedom hanging just out of reach and sealing her own isolated fate. Written by
Two plot twists and a genuinely haunting ending. What more could you want from a 5 minute horror short?
Romantic Hideaway is one of the best films to come out of the 50 kisses competition. In just 5 minutes, this story reminiscent of the Fritzl case, manages two plot twists and a truly haunting ending. Andrew T. Wright uses dramatic horror conventions brilliantly, tricking the audience into a false sense of security from the start and slowly revealing more and more of the horror that has gone on in this house.
The film starts with a mysterious tone as Norman (Donie Ryan) prepares a Valentines Day breakfast for his sweetheart Elena (Pagan McGrath). It is only when Norman turns around, and we get to see him in full, that the creepiness of his character is immediately apparent. Hats off to Donie Ryan for being able to show this in just a posture and a facial expression.
The sound design in Romantic Hideaway plays a vital role in creating a tense and sinister atmosphere. The combination of sound and jump cuts are used particularly well when we first see Elena, conveying the terrible state she is in superbly. The set design and lighting are also essential in doing this and although the mutilated dolls may be a little obvious, the shots of sodium chloride injections are uniquely shocking.
Romantic Hideaway is a confidently directed and professionally put together short that proves that a lot can be done with only a small budget, a single location, two actors and five minutes.
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