As Trespasser begins, an alarm clock wakes a man in bed. He
could be any man, but soon we feel and see that he is not; quickly he
becomes not only a stranger but something far worse. Flashbacks and
scenes from the moment tell a grim tale of something terribly wrong—of
something getting even worse. If I went on, I’d ruin the impact of a
most effective short film, and, of course, I never like to do that.
I’ll only say that this man is a monster.
Human monsters are the
worst and scariest of all, because they are real. Even the most
flamboyant villains from Hollywood—Pinhead, Freddy Krueger, Jason, and
the like—are no match for those of the human kind that live each day, in
the real world, stoking fears in the light as well as the dark. Just
the names of such killers are enough to disturb and chill the nerves of
even the most desensitized of movie watchers. I don’t need to name any
here; we all know them. (That one in your head right now probably has
you a bit disturbed already.)
Trespasser is a short film
that includes, as its main character, a generic man who could be
anyone—the man next door, the man who teaches our children, the man who
defends our case in court, ad infinitum. He is methodical, apathetic,
and cold, without concern for anything in his environment—other than
what he needs for himself. People are as disposable as trash—their
bodies like useless packaging, after the product is consumed. Human
suffering is dispensed with purpose, as a routine, but never felt.
Already, I’ve explained the reason that Trespasser
is so effective as a horror film, be it short or long. It’s art
imitating the worst things in life. However, there is another element
in this film that chills the marrow of even those most resistant. I’ll
only say that a child is involved. Combining that with what I’ve
already described should be more than enough to make the point.
Matt Fowler, the actor who plays the psycho, does it with creepy
authenticity, as well as it could be done by anyone—even the best stars
out there. Although it may not take as much effort to portray someone
with no emotions, in a silent role, for little more than three minutes,
Matt certainly puts forth the effort and shows true talent. For this,
he gets a ten-rocket salute! Matt's detached, unaffected appearance is
chilling! Katy Rowe also does a convincing job of portraying the
tortured and terrorized victim. As minimal as her role is, it is
necessary and well done; she is the girl next door, the one we all know,
and just like someone we all love. I can only imagine that terrorized
victims act as much like her; the fear on Katy’s face in the closing
scenes looks real, fooling my imagination into believing it is.
Trespasser is another outstanding short film written and directed by Bryan Ryan. (Bryan also directed The Guest, also featured here on Space Jockey Reviews.) Trespasser, like The Guest,
showcases Bryan’s ability to captivate an audience quickly, delivering a
distilled but ever-potent dose of fear in record time. No, he’s not
the first to do a film on this subject, of course. However, he pulls it
off here as well as I’ve seen it done, in a fraction of the time it
Trespass was shot and edited by Brian
Smith. Scenes flow smoothly, easily followed, with flashbacks that
connect without confusion; scenes linger on the moments, giving (if not
forcing) the viewer to think about what is happening. Dwayne Cathey’s
score is brooding and ominous, reflecting the dreamy, out-of-touch mind
of the killer; Kelsey Boutte’s special effects make Katy Rowe look
convincing as the victim, in anything but a dream. All in all, the
production team works well to create a film that fits all elements
together successfully to achieve its effect.
Some of the most chilling scenes in Trespass
occur as the credits roll. In the end, the viewer is a witness to the
killer’s recorded events, making things even more horrific. Just when
you think it’s over, it’s not; visuals are added at just the right
moment to heighten the effect and make it stick. Yes, Trespasser is a movie that hangs with you long after it’s over, even if you try to shake it off.
Why does Trespasser
stick with you? Again, it’s because it’s about reality—what happens
everyday, somewhere, and what could also happen, at any time, to us.
The killer has no name, but his anonymity makes him all the more
horrific; he could be anyone and everyone. Trespasser reminds
us, as a warning, that we, or our loved ones, with just the right
mistake, could be his next victim. What greater horror is there? I say
none. Real horror is what reminds of what could happen to ourselves,
and Trespasser reminds us of that from beginning to end.
To watch the entire short film, click here! VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!