ARTICLES & REVIEWS
Its best entry, Fragile Storm, makes this showcase worth the price of admission alone… The standout of the group. This film packs a lot of power into its nearly 10 minutes. A young woman is apparently held captive by a man in the beginning of his senior years. He’s alternately gruff and tender with her, but all she wants to do is escape. The twist is brilliant and heartbreaking, and its message will resonate long after its ending.
A man holding a young woman in his home is forced to face his darkest reality and living hell. I knew nothing going into Fragile Storm other than it starred Lance Henriksen and I’m incredibly happy about that. The less you know about the story going in the better. I say this because for a seven to eight minute long short film, it packs a far harder punch than most full length films.
Out of all the films that screened at Days of the Dead Chicago this past weekend, nothing left the impact on me quite like Fragile Storm. It’s not your traditional horror short, but make no mistake. Fragile Storm is one of the most heartbreaking, one of the most horrific tales I have ever seen. If I had to describe it to anyone that hasn’t seen it, I’d simply describe it as living hell.
All of the cast is amazing but out of all of them, Lance Henriksen is the one that blew me away. He gives one of the most subtle and nuanced performances of his storied career. Anyone that has followed the man’s filmography knows that this is quite the statement and I absolutely stand by it. He goes from terrifying to sympathetic in the blink of an eye and it felt completely natural and not even a little bit forced. The reason for this is the way it was filmed and the script. The script is incredible. It’s hard to do, but Fragile Storm subverts expectations in one of the most amazing ways that I have ever seen. I’m still in awe by just how intelligently Fragile Storm deals with it’s subject matter.
Director Dawn Fields deserves so much credit for how this plays out. Throughout the film there is a tone that subtlety shifts over the course of it’s run time. The moment of the big reveal and how it was shot is not just one of my favorite moment’s in the film, it’s one of my favorite moments in ANY film. I never saw it coming. Do yourself a favor and seek out Fragile Storm. It is hands down the best short film I have seen all year and is high up on my list of all time favorite short films. The raw emotion in it is unlike anything else you will see this year.
The Live Action category was ripe with talent. So hard to pick just a few when there were comedic and dramatic pieces that were so damn good. The dramas that managed to draw the audience in immediately were Dawn Fields’ Fragile Storm and Nico Raineau’s Brix and the Bitch. To be honest, Fragile Storm had a big advantage with a powerhouse performance by none other than Lance Henriksen, and a sure-handed director in Fields.
The story unfolds on a frightened young woman who is trying to escape from what appears to be a scary older man. The threat feels so real until she realizes why he appears to hold her captive. Fields storytelling is both suspenseful and sensitive. She shows a great deal of promise with a timely subject that has affected millions. The nice part about it all, the story never comes across pandering or exploitative. It is both down-to-earth and told with tremendous respect. Fields and company are to be applauded.