It Grows, the long, short film of 45 minutes, written and directed by Michael Bowler, is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s entertaining, and has some really great practical locations, and the plot is interesting enough. However, some of the devices used, such as voice over and an incredibly over the top score detract from moments that could have been more tense.
We begin in the present day, at a ranch. One, Bob Murphy (Will Kelly) whose voice over explains a bit of our opening scene, sets up the back story as to why he was at the Ranch where there were a bunch o’ murders took place. We then cut back back to the time of the crusades, 1557 AD. We hear the Inquisitor General (Marcus Seoighe) tell the head of a Coven (Dave Swift) why he sucks so hard, and why they gonna burn his ass at the stake. We hear of an evil knife, which the Inquisitor orders be buried in the surrounding wilderness. Cut back to present day, to Uncle Willy (John “JLowe” Lowe) C.C.(Damien Mitchell) and Joe(Riccardo Johnson), and Vera(Grace Hendy)and Kate(Rosey Hayes) visiting the ranch, in the hopes of winning a photography contest, and 500 euros(in dollars that’s 650, roughly). Also in the woods near the ranch are two hunters, one older gentlemen(Eugene O’Neegan) and a dude named Bubba(Mister Magoo…not kidding that’s the credit). Bubba finds the knife while trying to find his dog, and the killings begin.
The film takes places in Ireland. Uncle Willy rules. There’s a very hilarious transition from the Coven leader burning alive, to C.C. and Joe in the present day singing along to a song featuring the vocals of a high-pitched woman. This has nothing to do with anything, but it’s funny to see a dude from Ireland in a sweatshirt that reads, “New Jersey,” on the front. Just revenge for all the doofuses down in the states who wear Ireland shirts, I guess.
The piece has a great uses of practical locations. From the dungeons during the Crusades bit, to the wandering in the forest bit. One lesson all indie filmmakers should take to heart; if you can find a good, visually dense and creepy practical location, by all means, use the Hell out of it. Session 9 comes to mind.
The score gets really over the top. It’s very distracting from the visuals. Overpowers them mightily. It gets very Dead Can Dance-y, mixed with E.S. Posthumus. When you have one character hiding from another, fearing for their lives, score just detracts from some nice sound effects of steps and creaking wood, which could racket up the tension.
The actors do a fine job. Not one bad performance in the flick. No performance makes you harp on the acting, and focus on that more than the events at hand.
Some of the narration at the end seems needless. It takes you out of the present moment, as it is spoken in the past tense. Film is a visual medium. If I can see what’s happening on screen, voice over seems to be redundant. Perhaps, just the recollection inner monologue at the very beginning, and very end? Either way, much like the score, voice over is over used.
However, for a 45 minute short, this baby kept my attention, and was well executed. Give it a looksee. Just don’t watch it with Uncle Willy. That guy’s a bastard.