The Earth Rejects Him (2011) – By Cary Conley

This 25-minute Lovecraftian film is written, directed, shot, and produced by filmmaker Jared Skolnick, all for around $1,500. The story involves a young boy who, while riding bikes with friends in the woods, discovers the skeletal remains of a man. Drawn towards the corpse, the young boy feels compelled to take a tooth from the skull before his friends discover the remains and call the police. Later, when he buries the tooth and returns to see what has begun to grow, he is surprised and horrified to learn that there was more to the corpse than meets the eye.

This is an original story by Skolnick but the Lovecraft influence is evident from the surreal storyline and some of the best Lovecraftian monsters I’ve ever seen on any budget. And while the budget was obviously limited, Skolnick films in such a way that the monsters are truly frightening. Instead of showing the monsters in all their glory, he uses dark and shadow to obscure them as well as rapid editing to give viewers the gist of the horror without exposing the low budget of the film. It is a fascinating story, too, and the incongruence of some of the images are wildly original. The film can be enjoyed as a fantasy/horror story or, if one chooses to look a little deeper, as a commentary about the progression of a child from puberty and into adolescence.

Skolnick is not only a gifted writer but also an excellent technical filmmaker. The opening shots of the woods, in particular, are quite artistic and, along with a subtle musical score, establish a vague atmosphere of dread, even in bright sunlight. The film is driven more by facial expressions and actions than with dialogue, which is limited. As already established, the editing is also a strong point and allows the viewer to understand the action without lingering too long on the monsters or the (limited) gore.

I enjoyed this nifty little fantasy/horror film and look forward to seeing more work from Skolnick. If you are a fan of Lovecraft-inspired film or of the fantasy and horror genre, The Earth Rejects Him is now available on DVD and digital download. To view the trailer or to purchase the film, go to http://www.skolnickfilms.com/#!the-earth-rejects-him.