Untold Thoughts (CRITIQUE REVIEW​)

Reshan Fernando’s short film Untold Thoughts is a horror in the tradition of iconic Japanese ghost films like Ju-On. In it, a small boy is sent on an errand into an empty house, one which is either being moved into or out of, based on the boxes stationed around the rooms. His father promises to be back quickly. When he approaches the door, he’s welcomed by strange noises from within, something which continues as he enters and wanders the passageways. The tittering laughter and running of a malevolent child echoes from the upstairs as our frightened protagonist slowly ascends. He calls out for anyone who may be inside as he inspects the rooms with a growing dread. As he stands in the doorway of one, lurching back and forward with searching eyes, the figure suddenly appears behind him. It is a little girl looking over his shoulder, face concealed by the familiar long black hair that streams down in front of it. While the little boy doesn’t see the figure, he seems to become immediately aware of it, and flees further down the hallway. He remembers a trinket in his pocket, which was given to him by his father for protection when he’s scared and pulls it out. We see this gift presented in flashback. Almost at the very moment he closes his fist around the medallion, the ghost girl attacks, strangling the boy. This leads us directly into another flashback, this one at the heart of the mystery. The little girl is a vengeful spirit who was choked and drown in the bathtub of the home. Her teddy bear and scattered photographs lay across the floor at the close of the film, when he see the little boy coming back around to consciousness, just barely surviving the incident, seemingly only due to the charm in his hand. The film doesn’t provide us with a clear explanation what the boy is doing in the home, or where the father has gone, leaving him there by himself. It doesn’t necessarily need to, though, as this is purely an exercise in suspense with a jump scare or two. In that regard, it is very enjoyable and uses the elements effectively. It’s similarities to the previously mentioned Ju-On are many, not only from it’s aesthetics, but also the nature of the ghost. It’s not the spirit of a hell spawned demon, but rather that of a little girl who has been transformed into something sinister by the means of her death, placing a curse on the house itself. It’s admittedly a bit derivative, but it’s a good and enjoyable imitation. The main reason for it’s success is a fairly strong performance by the movie’s young lead, who avoids the usual pitfalls of child actors, such as mugging for the camera, and he manages to project a sense of real fear. It’s an enjoyable low budget feature with a razor sharp focus on it’s audience impact.

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