My heart is filled with childlike joy and wonder! I’m a sucker for and always champion a simple story that is carried out with expert style. And this week I didn’t have to look any further than director Bhargav Saikia’s The Black Cat. The short film was a cinematic blend of storytelling elements that read like The Spiderwick Chronicles, Goosebumps and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Now, I know that this mash-up doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but my mind just went there and you’ll need to view The Black Cat for yourself to see what I mean. And, honestly, why don’t you do that right now? It’s currently available on YouTube here. Getting back on track, this short film absolutely brought me back to my childhood and allowed me to experience that little spark of magic again, and it provided me with a fun break from reality during the most stressful time of the year. It’s definitely a fantasy piece aimed at a younger crowd, but adults who are still young at heart like me will find enormous enjoyment in it. I dare you not to smile.
The Black Cat was also produced by Bhargav Saikia, based on the original story by celebrated and famed author Ruskin Bond. The story follows a man who buys a broom at an antique shop before returning to his elegant home. Soon, a playful black cat shows up at his doorstep and is entirely focused on the broom stick, much to the confusion of the homeowner. Then, a friendly and unique woman named Miss Bellows shows up on the property looking for the cat and finds herself as the third soul encompassed by the cleaning device. Is it a cursed object, or are the three new arrivals interconnected in some way? the late Tom Atler (Gandhi, The Chess Players), Shernaz Patel (Black, Guzaarish) and Uday Chandra star in a peculiar picture from cinematographer A. Vasanth and editor Arjun Mogre. Witches hats off to this cast and crew for their hand in making a short film that’s capable of pushing you into the Halloween spirit all year long. I only wish it were longer so I could get a bigger dose of the subdued comedy, fitting musical scores and crystal clear cinematography.
Who knew a simple, clever story about a broom stick and a cat would be so enthralling? I didn’t, but The Black Cat really sneaked up on me and scratched at the childish imagination I haven’t used in a while. The movie isn’t overbearing, and it’s quite witty, so it allows the viewer to fill in the gaps and come to conclusions on their own. From the kindly beginning to the stunning, CGI ending, The Black Cat is a showstopper that crosses generation boundaries. This is a short film that you can show your kids around Halloween or a title you can watch when you need to remember what it was like to feel the magic of life again. As a reviewer, I look for errors or criticisms, and I honestly can’t find any here. Being that this is a horror website, I could say that The Black Cat isn’t horror enough. Really, it’s not horror at all, so much as it’s a fantasy-comedy. But, I don’t think it was ever created to be something scary. It was made to entertain you with whimsical wonders and it certainly succeeded in that endeavor! Final Score: 8 out of 10.