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Stover Hill (2015)

Strange goings-on in a tranquil neighborhood invade a dinner party, turning friend against friend. The taut short features talented and well known San Diego actors Randy Davison ("Deranged"... See full summary »

Director:

Clarke M. Smith
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Raquel Elizabeth Ames Raquel Elizabeth Ames ... Robin
Yvette Angulo ... Trish
Mike Brayden ... Will
Randy Davison ... Rich
Elizabeth Popovich ... Ashley
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Storyline

Strange goings-on in a tranquil neighborhood invade a dinner party, turning friend against friend. The taut short features talented and well known San Diego actors Randy Davison ("Deranged", "The Saddle"), Raquel Elizabeth Ames ("Ghostline"), Mike Brayden ("A Good Ol' Chap", Soul Insurance"), Yvette Angulo ("A Walk in the Park", Birthday Wish"), and little Elizabeth Popovich ("Carving A Life").

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Genres:

Short | Sci-Fi

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

San Diego, California, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
An Excellent Short
9 May 2015 | by S. Michael SimmsSee all my reviews

Just watched this short for the first time, and I still have that little uneasy feeling you get after you expose yourself to terrifying subject matter. "Stover Hill" proves that you can still make a very scary short film on a very low budget with the right elements in play.

Reber Clark's score is almost a character unto itself, showing remarkable restraint and maturity you wouldn't expect in a microbudgeted feature. After setting the mood in the very nicely produced opening sequence (kudos to their graphics people), it provides just the right amount of tension throughout.

Hats off to the director, Clarke M. Smith, as well for his attention to detail and adaptation of the material co-written and produced with Jason Lethert and Sergio Kopolev.

Although he doesn't make his usual cameo in this one, there is a brief nod to his 2002 New York Big Mini-DV Festival Award winning Sci-Fi opus, "The Etheral Plane". Though this short features none of that film's intrigue or high action, it is just as effective at doing a lot with a little.

Without giving too much away, the plot is a bit of an homage to such Sci-Fi horror classics as the 70's remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and the 80's remake of "Invaders from Mars".

Everything seems normal at first— the movie opens with a little girl (cutie-pie Elizabeth Popovich) being awakened by a small social gathering in the typical middle class household of her parents, thirtysomething Rich (Randy Davison), who may have had a few too many as evidenced by his perpetual chortling and use of words like "squatch", and his lovely wife Robin (the captivating Raquel Elizabeth Ames).

Robin has invited her friend Trish (veteran short film actress Yvette Angelo) and her new boyfriend over for drinks. It's not long before said boyfriend introduces us to the strange and amusing (a well-timed performance by actor Mike Brayden—you'll giggle at "I know nothing about that.") which quickly transitions to the tense and terrifying.

Davison nearly steals the show with his natural and believable performance, but it's Ames (whose beauty alone is worth checking out the film) who carries the piece to its frightening conclusion (aided by some truly horrific sound effects).

If the above-average special effects don't get you, the one perfectly-timed jump scare or the uber-creepy ending definitely will. The aforementioned scare really highlights the masterful camera work which more than makes up for a few somewhat long sequences.

On the down side, some of the fine acting feels stunted in places as a result of a few editing issues, and there are spots of dialog that could have used some tweaking ("We'll do it together tomorrow night." "But I have karate class tomorrow." "We'll do it together tomorrow night then."), but the errors are few and far between, and overall the performances are solid and the chills are there.

I've always believed that if art makes you feel something, anything, it has succeeded. TimeAxis Entertainment continues that success with "Stover Hill", and its San Diego Film Consortium 2nd Place award for Best Horror/SciFi/Thriller/Action short was well deserved. My fifteen minutes was well spent— I'd give this spooky little Sci-Fi chiller a B+.

S. Michael Simms

IAJS Entertainment Division


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