Wednesday, May 17, 2017

RIFF ’17: Wolves (short)

An RAF pilot loses his sidearm after his plane is shot down behind enemy lines. That sounds bad, but it gets worse when we realize this might not be a war movie. It might fall into the horror genre instead. Or maybe not. Call it whatever you like, but Álvaro Rodriguez Areny’s Wolves (trailer here) is a heck of an intense short film that screens during the 2017 Ridgefield Independent Film Festival.

The dogfight ends badly for Arthur, but the bailing out and crashing-and-burning effects are pretty impressive for a short film. Injured and unarmed, he makes his way to an apparently abandoned country estate. Unfortunately, the National Socialists are following close on his heels—and they might be even more sinister than we thought.

Very subtly, Areny drops hints that there might be something supernaturally evil afoot here. He gives flashes that are almost subliminal, but undeniably creepy. Regardless, he clearly uses a visual vocabulary much more in keeping with the horror genre than an Alastair MacLean-style manhunt thriller. Yet, it still has more action packed into it than many feature-length war movies. It might be a tease for a prospective feature, but it is certainly effective.

Andorran TV star Isak Férriz goes all in with an impressively physical performance. He genuinely looks like the fear of death is in him. Areny and cinematographer Marc Gallifa give it all a darkly stylish look that keeps us off balance and in some instances uncertain whether we just saw what we thought we saw. It is quite an accomplished twelve-minute film. Very highly recommended, it screens this Friday (5/19) during the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival, in Connecticut.