Ramping up the mind games, while throwing in some impressive bloodshed for good measure, writer/director Damon Rickard returns with his latest effective short, Stolen.

Bigger, and arguably better, than his last outing – Dissociative – the film sees the director moving in to newer areas, blending his previous work with a new, more ‘in-your-face’ approach.

Michelle (an excellent Samantha Elliott Brody) seems to be trying to piece her life back together.

Separated from her partner and child, and with some past event clearly haunting her, Michelle is close to breaking point – on edge, uneasy, and only able to communicate with the outside world via a walkie-talkie provided by her brother.

But when things start going bump (or crackle) in the night, is Michelle being stalked – or is she simply losing her mind……..

As with the best of Rickard’s previous work, visual clues are peppered through the film’s 14-minute running time, dragging the viewer into a filmic puzzle as you try and piece the whole thing together.

Yes, there is a ‘reveal’, but the director clearly wants you to work first, keeping the audience on their toes – or even on the back foot.

In fact, I’m still not sure that I’ve fully got my head around this one (as was the case with Rickard’s last, Dissociative), but I’d rather that than a simple, generic offering any day of the week.

There are plenty of positives here – Rickard’s direction is smooth and assured, there are a couple of superbly-orchestrated jump scares and Eric Elick’s effective soundtrack even drops into John Carpenter-esque vibes on a couple of occasions.

The director even manages to sneak in a nod to one of his previous outings – The Tour – which will certainly give any fan of his work a chuckle.

But overall Stolen is no laughing matter, far from it in fact – a no-holds-barred assault that shifts from psychological terror to full-blown gore in the blink of an eye, adding another string to writer/director Rickard’s burgeoning bow.

Short Film Review: Stolen
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

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.