Mallas, MA (2013) – By Cary Conley

Mallas, Massachusetts is a very superstitious New England hamlet. Many of the residents seem to think they have paranormal visitors in town. So in order to find out once and for all whether or not the town has some ghostly residents, the good people of Mallas hire a medium and two "paranormal investigators"–in reality con artists–to explore the area and determine if the town really is haunted.

The film opens with the two crooks, Brian and Maria, (Timothy J. Cox and Maria Natapov) knocking on one of the resident’s doors and being directed to the basement, supposedly the site of several ghostly occurrences. The pair wander around aimlessly, cracking jokes and trying to devise a plan when Maria is startled to find a pretty, young girl sitting in the corner of the dank basement. She seems happy enough and is willing to answer questions with a nod of the head but seems quiet and very shy, preferring not to speak. Brian decides to really put one over on the town so he has Maria take pictures of the little girl peeking around corners and from behind various pieces of junk in the basement. The little girl never speaks but is game to have her picture taken, and seems to know where Brian wants her to pose even before he tells her. He’ll have an idea, look up, and there the mute darling is, exactly where he wanted her to be. She even accompanies Brian and Maria to the local talk show where they plan to announce their "scientific findings".

But will Brian and Maria go through with their shenanigans, bilking the good townsfolk of Mallas from their hard-earned money? Will they be discovered before they can finish pulling the wool over the collective eyes of the entire town? And just who is this mysterious girl who doesn’t seem to have an attachment to anyone in town? You must watch Mallas, MA in order to find the answers to these questions.

Filmed earlier this year, Mallas, MA is a gently humorous and ironic eight-minute short directed by Sean Meehan. There is a fun little Twilight Zone-like twist at the end, the perfect payoff for our two pranksters. The two leads are quite strong and do a fine job as they bumble around attempting to set the town of Mallas up for a hard fall. The cinematography is quite good; I especially enjoyed the title sequence as the camera sweeps over the gorgeous New England landscape filled with brightly-colored Cape Cod-style houses. Director of photography Rick Macomber is to be commended for this terrific shot as well as for the entirety of the film.

Mallas, MA is a fun little film that is very enjoyable. It should come as no surprise that the film won the Audience Choice Award at the 2013 Boston 48 Hour Film Project. The film is available for viewing at