By Robert Mann.
Earlier this year I reviewed The Stolen Wings and The Boogeyman, two short films by Irish filmmaker Gerard Lough. In the wake of the publicity blitz over the latter film, there has been a lot on interest in the only other horror film on Lough’s CV, his 2008 short Deviant, and now I have been awarded the opportunity to watch and review it. Set in a normal house at night, the film shows an intrusion by a prowler (Michael Parle) and the unsavoury activities he gets up to, his female victim (Fatima Fleming) unsuspecting and unknowing of what is going on. With a subject matter such as this, it is a given that this is not a film for the easily offended. I am rather easily offended and as such found a scene or two to be very much on the gross side but looking beyond my slight disgust I could see what is a horror film every bit as effective as Lough’s The Boogeyman and infinitely more so than most of the drivel coming out of Hollywood. Showing events from the perspective of the prowler himself gives the film a very voyeuristic, almost Hitchcockian feel and, if anything, makes it all the more chilling, this film being very chilling in almost every respect.
The musical score is effectively unnerving and also feels quite original in the same way that the Halloween theme tune once did, conveying more with a few notes than many horror films convey in their entirety. The music is creepy enough in its own right but ambient noise is also used to superbly chilling effect and the visuals themselves portray every bit as much menace. The use of dark shots with only little bits of light coming in is very visually effective and the use of a palette drained of colour and giving a slight blue tint to the picture also proves stylish. A close-up shot of a photo of a girl – the victim – creates a firm sense of menace while the way such things as glow sticks, laser pointers and digital cameras are depicted may mean that you never think about such gadgets in the same way again. The prowler himself is effectively realised by an understated performance by Michael Parle as the largely unspeaking – he only has one line towards the end – character for which he proves very creepy, conveying more with a simple perverted gaze than could be achieved with an entire script’s worth of dialogue. Deviant is not a film that is scary in the jump a minute sense but rather in the you may not be able to sleep afterwards fashion – be warned now you may think unpleasant thoughts after seeing this – but it you appreciate good horror films this is well worth checking out.
The trailer for Deviant can be viewed below.