12 Kilometers (2016)
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For me the film created the same atmosphere and feeling I got from watching one of my favourite horror films "The Thing". In no way does it feel like you are watching someone try to copy that film but instead I felt the same tone and atmosphere come across of clostraphobia, suspicion and fascination.
Like I mentioned at the start I absolutely loved the sound design in this film and the score for it. The music fits perfectly with every scene constantly making you feel uneasy and the sound does this as well by genuinely making it feel like they have dug their way into hell itslef.
As a massive horror fan, I can say that this film did what it set out to do and create an eerie tone from start to finish. I really hope this film gets made into a feature as I want to see more of where they can take this story an plot. I look forward to seeing more films from Mike Pecci as it's clear he has a passion for making these films and that comes across in this film. If you want to watch a excellently crafted film in all aspects of sound, sets, acting, lighting, story and more then I strongly recommend this film.
I look for original content of high quality and this is a top competitor.
From the get go the atmosphere is claustrophobic and tense. Even when the frame opens on jaw dropping extreme wide shots of mountain views, you can't help but feel the utter isolation put forward. This is in large part due to the score which perfectly accentuates the visual story telling. The soundscape is clearly reminiscent of 80's Sci-Fi/Horror which I absolutely loved. It does this without seeming as if it is leeching off of its inspirations, which is no easy feat when attempting to pay homage to your predecessors.
In terms of visuals, the cinematography here is phenomenal. From the framing, to the colours and lighting. It is evident that the filmmakers are adept at their craft, and the masterful editing keeps the pace moving along at the appropriate rate. The use of macro photography for some of the visuals was an inspired choice that nicely adds to the frantic aura of the film. And that's what makes this short so special. The 'vibe'. I personally don't get frightened by horror movies but this did something that most in the genre fail to do. It kept me guessing, it kept me thinking and it genuinely pulled me into the creepy world that it portrayed.
Of course, nothing is perfect. My only criticism, and it is honestly a minor one, was that the script at times felt a bit heavy handed or like we were being told things that a real person would not say, but rather think. I believe a little more of show and don't tell could have helped here. HOWEVER, this is more of a nitpick than a critique but it did slightly remind me that I was watching something artificial rather than experiencing a finely crafted universe. It is also important to note tat this film is presented in a foreign language so it was probably intentional in order to keep the audience focused and invested without letting their minds stray too far. Not to mention they were playing with a short run time.
Overall, this is a unique, unforgettable experience that leaves you salivating for more. It hits many marks that a lot of modern Hollywood movies of the same genre could only dream of touching upon. If you ever get the chance to watch this, please do. You won't regret it. Or maybe you will... but in the best way possible.
To the creative team I say congratulations and thank you for delivering this solid piece. Your efforts here truly paid off. To Mike Pecci, I give my best wishes as I know we will definitely be seeing more of his work in the future.
However, I do think that the villain or antagonist character of the strange bacteria hidden in the depths could have used some more development and something to establish the level of threat - currently we only know that it's killed several people and shown our protagonist a terrifying vision of his father at the conclusion/climax and made some eerie noises but as far as that, we don't really know much more about the potential consequences that the entity could create... it feels a bit too mysterious at that point and I feel we didn't know enough about what the entity in the abyss could do to be truly terrified. Perhaps I need to view it a second time? I'm not sure.
That's really my only gripe with the story: the pacing was on-point and I never once felt bored. The ending was certainly punchy and dramatic - I enjoyed the conclusion.
The visuals were brilliant, the production value was solid and all-in-all 12KM is a solid piece. I'd definitely recommend this film - I look forward to seeing Pecci develop the concept in greater detail, perhaps feature length is more appropriate to explore the universe of 12KM further.