Not even Corona Virus can keep a good indie film-maker down. And that’s one of the few joys to working in this media: you don’t need a crew of 20 people to get something done. Slumberjack Entertainment is back with a new short film titled Sins of the Father, which is due to be included in the studio’s upcoming anthology flick, The Micro Killers. Each installment in the anthology will be shot on a small budget and linked together by one devilish symbol. How they link up is yet to be determined. Written by Peter Mckiernon and Neil Gallagher, Sins of the Father sees a loophole/Groundhog Day effect eclipsing a member of the clergy every time he sets his hands on the bars leading out of a cemetery. With every attempt thwarted by an unknown presence, the priest is forced to come to terms with his life full of sin and deceit. Filmed in the UK while following government restrictions, Sins of the Father is solely lead on screen by Neil Gallagher.
The short film begins in a cemetery, completely shot in black and white; giving me major Night of the Living Dead vibes. Which is inevitable when any movie tries this tactic. There are no zombies here, though, only a pressure-building mystery with palpable suspense and claustrophobia-building terror. When watching titles that are more thematic than traditional narratives, I always try and put myself in the actors’ place. I can’t imagine being trapped in this way, and my own emotions were actualized in a daunting performance by Neil Gallagher. Shooting Sins of the Father in black and white, along with the superb performance by Gallagher and measures of suspense, depicted a narrative that pays homage to films of yesteryear while taking a poke at modern societal issues. Wait, are we sure I’m not talking about Night of the Living Dead again?
Sins of the Father is also quite experimental. From the angles, the heights of shots and flashes of color on screen, to the visual effects that weren’t completely sufficient but only added a radical, grainy element to the picture quality. Sins of the Father is directed and edited by Peter Mckiernon with additional camera work by Rod Hay. I can forgive any missed opportunities with production because this short film brings a lot to the table with story value and thematics. Really, the only negative thing I have to say is that the ending credits are far too long. They increased the run-time by several minutes but didn’t add any length to the story on screen. When film festivals open again, I’m positive that Sins of the Father is going to see a successful run in that market. It does a lot with so little and demonstrates while independent cinema is still raising the bar against typical Hollywood norms. If Peter Mckiernon, Neil Gallagher and Rod Hay can birth a sick and twisted story on a shoestring budget in the middle of a global pandemic, why can’t you make your movie?
Final Score: 9 out of 10.