Short films are generally looked at as the proving ground for potential filmmakers. They can be an art form on their own, this can’t be denied, but for the most part they are seen as part of a larger process. Shorts allow for filmmakers to better understand their actors, the process of making a movie, telling a narrative, and they the perfect preparation for feature films. Hike isn’t a title that begs to be made into a feature film, but it does show a new filmmaker trying to find their own distinct voice within the genre-film medium.
Director and writer Jennifer Campbell steps up to the plate with this seven minute horror short, and she generally knocks it out of the park. With only seven minutes to work with, and taking place within the confines of horror-genre tropes, one mustn’t expect genre-defying narrative devices. Still, as a product of pure experimentation and visual playfulness, Hike puts a fresh spin on a familiar story. The story, in this case, follows a couple who head off into the woods. As might be expected, one of these two holds a very dark secret. For a seven minute short, that is about all the audience needs to know. The rest of the fun comes from watching Campbell toy with her creativity. Featuring tons of fluid camerawork, and shots that seem far too technical for a project such as this one, I was very impressed with the visual nature of the production. Featuring a shot that seems as if it could have been lifted right out of Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, as well as a first-person cartwheel, some of the camerawork here is completely top notch. Campbell shows she isn’t afraid to step out and try a few new things solely for the sake of keeping the audience entertained, and I like that. The performances, though you may not be expecting much, are actually quite solid. Although there are few lines of dialogue in the short, the actors portray a sense of chemistry that manages to give a very professional quality to the short.
Overall, there may not be a whole lot here in terms of narrative, but it is fun. A solid short film that has me curious to see what else this director will delve into. You can read more about Hike, as well as Campbell’s next short film Final Weekend, via the
website. Certainly give this one a look if the opportunity comes up.