Written by James Rodrigues

Shot over the course of a single day, with a small crew on-hand, Bill is the latest short film to come from Sketchbook Pictures. The story sees a widow turning to the dark arts, in an effort to see her husband once more. Spearheading this project are creative and life partners, Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair, acting in the roles of co-writers, directors, and producers. Taking a straightforward premise, the pair execute it with great efficiency, as what unfolds brings to mind the BBC series Inside No. 9, or the HBO classic Tales from The Crypt. Both of those shows turned uncomplicated ideas into chilling narratives which stuck in the mind, long after the credits have rolled, and Sketchbook Pictures have accomplished that with over 3 minutes of running time.

Leading the proceedings is Roxanna Vilk, front and centre of this short, in her portrayal of the widow who misses her Bill. Through the scenes, Vilk captures the grief and longing which inhabit her character, and conveys it through small ways, each proving rather effective. It must also be said, she depicts the characters fear very well also, as though the horrific circumstances are unfolding before her very eyes.

As she receives signs from the beyond, what occurs is initially fascinating to our protagonist, but there’s a feeling of unease running throughout. The signs play out in a simple manner which proves entirely effective, bringing to mind the disturbing nature of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. Aiding the scenes are the startling sounds and unsettling music, which are ably provided by Dave Colebrook, and helps to leave a lasting impression.

The warning signs grow considerably, and as the creeping sounds draw ever closer, the tension raises in ways that will haunt your nerves. The terror lies in the uncertainty of it all, be it the origins of the sound, or the basic idea of what is happening. From the contents residing within John Doe’s box in Se7en, to the photo depicting what Hannibal Lecter did to a poor nurse, the unseen has always been more terrifying, as one’s imagination runs amok when the eye cannot witness the horror itself. That feels true here, as once the curtain is pulled back, the terror isn’t as effective to behold, though it isn’t for a lack of trying. In spite of this, it doesn’t detract from the unnerving nature beforehand, or the effectiveness of the overall product.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

You can watch this short horror film from Sketchbook Pictures below! Be sure to follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with their filmmaking projects.

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