Service (2014) – By Kirsten Walsh

An ethereal, foreboding opening, we follow a young woman pulling a child along behind her, armed with a mop. The two make haste towards a fenced in mansion, presumably to clean. Questions immediately fill the viewer’s mind. Who is this girl? Is this their house? Why is the woman aggressively pulling her behind? Without knowing what specific genre of a film “Service” is, it could be anything. The music alludes to something dark and ominous, but the brightly lit entrance speaks otherwise. The two enter the home and the woman puts the girl in a room, instructing her tersely to not open the door or make noise. Questions once again fill the viewer’s mind. What happens next is unexpected in a traditional sense, but is perfectly normal in this film’s reality. The leading lady is a maid of a particular kind, but then something happens that shocks her as well- an intruder.

The music sets up a tense setting, one in which survival is now the game and a locked bathroom is now a prison. The film twists and turns from there into a horrifying end, but keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat the whole time. Denna Thomsen, the leading lady, does an incredible job carrying the film on her shoulders, portraying maternalistic one second and sultry and sexy the next, followed by terrified. She is a uniquely beautiful leading lady, and is reminiscent of Milla Jovovich with her looks and movements throughout the film. One of the best moments was seeing her run in platform high heels throughout the house- as a woman, I gained a whole new respect for her- running across a stone floor! James Babson, who plays the intruder, is perfectly creepy in his role. Watching him at first, it is obvious he is playing a man with some mental stunting, but the reality of the film keeps it within reason, and doesn’t use that as a vehicle for that character.

One thing that can’t be ignored is the young girl, played by a delicately innocent Rylie Martinez. The story would pull on any parents’ heartstrings. A young girl, forced to confront a strange man who is covered in blood. But in many coming of age films, there comes that moment when the viewer sees her come into her own and stand up for herself, and not in the way that is expected. Her facial expressions reveal all as the story unfolds, and it is a reality in the modern day and age. Pyle has pulled off extreme emotion and brought a major “reality check” in front of the viewers.

The cinematography never lets the viewer down. The lighting appears to be minimal, with a beautiful sunny day shining through the windows, giving the feel of natural lighting. In complete contrast with the pure evil that is taking place within the walls, this plays nicely. Although I personally think they could’ve adjusted more contrast from the well lit scenes to bounce against the locked in bathroom scenes, it wasn’t anything that would be too noticeable. The sound was good, but seemed to not be the focus of the film. Of course, I applaud any filmmaker who can pull off location sound and it sounds understandable, clear, and doesn’t distract from the film, and this film pulls that off in leaps and bounds.

Clocking in at just under eight minutes, this film leaves the audience with the scary thought that this could truly happen to them. With the tag line being “Don’t get stuck in a dead-end job” , as soon as I finished this film, I looked around my workspace with fear. Shit.

Definitely worth checking out!

Check out when “Service” is coming near you! – https://www.facebook.com/serviceshort

*”Service” will be screening at the Texas Frightmare Weekend May 2nd at 11pm in Dallas, Texas!