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.
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 usually takes.
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.
Starring Matt Fowler and Katy Rowe, Written and Directed by Bryan Ryan, Shot and Edited by Brian Smith, Special Make-Up Effects by Kelsey Boutte, Music by Dwayne Cathey, A Final Girl Films Production
To watch the entire short film, click here! VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!