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Review: Malachi Pulte’s “Domestic”

Yes, I love being exposed to the work of new film-makers. Although Malachi Pulte has been working in the business the last few years, his latest short film, Domestic, is the first opportunity I’ve had to discover his talent. A twelve minute mini-movie shot under Disposable Entertainment, Domestic is a tremendous showcase of local talent, and everything you wanted out of but never received from the 2008 Pulse sequels. And that’s all I’m going to say about that for fear of ruining the surprise twist. The film follows a young man (Roger Conners) who’s woken late one night by a ruckus coming from his neighbors house. He takes it upon himself to check on those involved (Rachel Anderson, Michael Kunz) only to discover something sinister going on at the residence. Relationships can be Hell, but in Domestic, they can even lead to grisly murder-suicides. Domestic is written and directed by Malachi Pulte, and I sincerely hope genre fans get the chance to see it at film festivals later this year.

Domestic is nothing short of dark and moody, but it does so without beating you over the head with horror. It relies more on suspense, with the “what the fuck is going on” atmosphere building at a genius pace. The twelve minutes of run-time will fly by in a flash, leaving you with an unsettling feeling and the desire to know more. I’m proud to say that Domestic is a movie that doesn’t rely on blood and gore to sell its narrative. It relies on genuine suspense and a story that’s a nod to a previous cult franchise. More-so, it highlights the very real issue of domestic violence around the world; a common occurrence that is overlooked or flat-out ignored until it’s too late. However, with Domestic, the cause of such abuse is seedier and more unrelenting than it may seem. And, honestly, Rachel Anderson looks like she really went through the ringer for this role. She’s a talented actress, but she’s also very beautiful. Domestic is probably the most raw she’s been in a long time.

Roger Conners really shines in Domestic, too, but he’s already experiencing a career high by co-starring in the Walmart sell-out American Poltergeist: The Curse of Lilith Ratchet and scifi-thriller Fighting the Sky. Perhaps his appearance in this short film alone will draw audiences to film festival seats. As Mr. Conners already knows, I rather enjoy when he plays a straight role (Roger plays for the gays) because he pulls it off quite well. It’s a tribute to his fine acting skills and makes him a viable resource to casting directors. Domestic features cinematography and editing by Malachi Pulte and cinematography by Michael Kunz. What’s so great about this short horror flick is the cast and crew was kept to a minimum, but they pulled off something so wonderful and so successful. Hell, even the fact that the home occupied by Rachel Anderson and Michael Kunz smells so bad is cinematic and thematic in itself. Smelling rank is a metaphor for abuse. Everyone can experience the after-effect.

A soul-crushing mix of The Crazies, Pulse and Possession, Domestic is definitely going on my “most recommended list of 2019.” Check it out if you get the chance. It’s twelve minutes of your time well spent; a nightmare you’ll want to wake from in the best way possible. Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)