Being contacted directly by the producers of a film (in this case Zach Green), asking you to review it, definitely has the very distinct feel of being a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, you get a bit of a buzz out of it, settling down to watch something that not everyone is able to see.

But on the other hand, you sort of feel a bit forced to say something nice, as a way of thanking those that sent it your way.

The beauty of Familiar though, is that I can dish out the plaudits and still sleep well at night, not having sold out my critic credentials in any way.Official PosterF (1)

The reason? Well, that’s because this 23-minute piece is superbly well done, expertly filmed and acted and also carries a hefty kick.

The emphasis of the film is very much on John Dodd (played by Robert Nolan), a world-weary 45-year-old who is pretty much at the end of his tether.

He longs to cut loose, ditch his wife and daughter and head out on the open road – or so the voices in his head tell him anyway.

Dodd is constantly planning his escape, only for something to block his path – an unplanned pregnancy, illness or such like.

And as the pressure mounts up, John realises the urges that come from within may be so much more than merely his inner dialogue…..

The weight of the film sits squarely on the shoulders of Nolan, who is on screen from virtually first second to last.

And boy does he carry that weight with ease, turning in a performance that elicits sympathy and revulsion in equal measure.

There are only two others in the cast, with Astrida Auza as wife Charlotte and Cathryn Hostick as daughter Jordan, both handling their roles with ease.

Directed and written with consummate skill by Richard Powell, Familiar starts off with everything held in check, before becoming progressively more out there as the minutes tick by.

And as for the finale, well that contains as effective a slice of effects work as you are likely to see in any studio horror effort.

I’m not sure when or if people will be able to get to see this, but it certainly deserves the exposure.

And let’s hope that Powell is offered the chance to come up with bigger or better things, as Familiar is the work of a definite talent.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.