Written by James Rodrigues
For this, I shall review a trio of short films from the same director, who makes his work under the name Lomai.
First up is Method. As it begins, we’re introduced to Shelby, our protagonist who is worried about something. She has finished an acting job, but cannot leave behind the role she had previously inhabited. When we hear about method acting, it tends to be an exercise to praise how invested somebody got into the role. Usually, it’s a cute story about how somebody tirelessly learnt a new hobby to get into the mindset, or it’s an excuse for a high-profile man to act like an asshole. What we’re shown here is the toll of such investment, how Shelby is now scared of her own thoughts, and what images her mind conjures up.
As Shelby receives praise for her portrayal, she finds herself more at ease, revelling in the idea of acclaim. But the question hangs over her head, can she live without the character any longer? After inhabiting her for so long, the promise of a brighter future lays ahead, but at what cost? Whitney Masters does an excellent job in capturing our leads mindset, as the fear transforms into an unravelling, little by little. This is further emphasised by the mood and atmosphere, which make up a 9-minute short you won’t shake so easily.
Next up is Terror Time, the shortest of the lot at only one minute long. This is a straightforward tale, as a shadowed narrator details their business. People come to her hairdressers wanting their outside changed, but it’s what lies inside which informs the alterations they receive. The actress’ voice carries a sense of gravitas, working in tandem with the sinister lighting and escalating score, to hint at the ensuing danger which is to come. This promises at something grander to come, in a large running time. As it stands, this is a tense teaser at its best. If we get an expanded version of this, then be sure to keep an eye out for it.
Finally, we have The Black Dude Lives! Presented in black & white, the ensuing 3 minutes provide a fun throwback to the classic films of the 1950s, capturing both the tone and the troubling handlings of race. The characters are terrorised by a Werewolf, but the authorities can only focus on the titular Black dude within their midst. Typically, no matter how much common sense the Black characters deliver, the white men dismiss them to play hero and follow their closed-minded ideas. It gets to a point where even the monster stops their slaughter, astounded at the bigotry on display. Thankfully, the short runtime stops the idea from being run into the ground, although it can’t cover up the Werewolf looking a tad unconvincing. That isn’t the point, though, as in the midst of the humour, this captures the sad truths which haven’t changed. How people are more likely to give into fear and hatred over rational thought, and blame a marginalised group for all that is wrong, rather than those deserving of such ire.
So, what does this trilogy of shorts show us about Lomai? There’s a clear love for the horror genre, something which can be conveyed across a variety of subgenres. There’s the ability to balance meta-humour and issues which never seem to lack relevance, as seen in the sly jabs at the genre classics. Just as effective is the straightforward premise, which time has made us familiar with, such as grave danger lurking within an everyday setting. Let’s not forget the mind-focused area of horror, where the terror is internal, and, as expected in the genre, can have horrific repercussions. Keep an eye out for Lomai, as there’s much promise within his work.