Virginia Powers Hendry brings the infamous 1960’s subgenre of horror – psycho-biddy – into 2019 with her latest short film, ELIXIR. Chalking the culprit of the story up to scream queen icon Dee Wallace would be too easy, so ELIXIR is a short film you’re going to need to see to believe. Written and directed by Virginia Powers Hendry, this ten minute narrative finds a young woman abused and isolated at the hands of her housebound charge. Out of desperation, she begs God for help, only for a mysterious man to show up and offer her salvation. But the man is not who he seems. His thoughts and prayers lead the woman down a dark and disturbing path that could destroy them both. Starring Dee Wallace (Cujo, Critters, The Howling), Gabrielle Stone (Zombie Killers, Speak No Evil) and Austin Brook (A Hero for a Day, Project Child: Oirgins), and produced by Steven Shea of Abyssmal Entertainment, ELIXIR is about to stab and crush its way through the film festival circuit. Mark my words!
There’s a lot going on here, story-wise and from a production standpoint. The great news is I have nothing but positive things to say about both pieces of this puzzle. ELIXIR is more of a dark drama and psychological horror film than its an in your face scary movie. It’s foreboding and filled with unexpected turns. You think Dee Wallace is going to be the central antagonist, but then that hat gets tossed around several times before this ten minute short roles credits. The mystery and downturn of the characters is beautiful to watch. Throw in a little bit of gore and you’ll be enthralled wondering how the story is going to diverge and spawn something new next. Great story-telling from Virginia Powers Hendry. And the camera work. If I could whistle well, I’d find a way to transcribe it here. I loved the camera work and style by cinematographer Scott Uhlfelder. It’s sleek and classy with a modern touch. It was further highlighted by editing Steven Shea; resulting in a product that looks flawless in black and white.
I’d wager that ELIXIR is somewhat artistic and experimental, too. I almost want to watch it a second time to see what themes and metaphors come out to play in between the action on screen and the production style. Virginia Powers Hendry took a risk here and it certainly payed off in a big way. ELIXIR is inquisitive, shocking, eerie and genuinely surprising all rolled into one. A cruel game that catches you off guard and makes you want to beg for mercy. As I mentioned above, it’s more than deserving of a strong film festival run where it will hopefully be appreciated by more artistic, unsuspecting horror fans. Plus, it’s got Dee Wallace, and I could write another paragraph just about how her star presence tremendously enhances the quality of this film. She’s just fantastic, and Gabrielle Stone really held her own against an icon of fright. Well done, ladies, and what a great introduction to the talent of Virginia Powers Hendry. Oh, and yay cannibalism. Can’t forget to mention that! Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.