Hideous [Hamish Robertson, UK, 2019]
Hideous is a smart slice of psychological horror directed by Hamish Robertson and written by Jim Rennie. When cheerful and happily married florist Marla is visited in her flower shop by a mysterious man in a black suit who informs her that her husband was murdered earlier that day, the man gives Marla a loaded gun and encourages her to get her revenge. Where the plot goes from there is frequently surprising, with many of the reveals in the film’s final scene being downright shocking. It’s the rare kind of short film that is brilliantly paced; you can even divide Hideous’ 16 minutes into three distinct acts.
Craig Andrew Mooney is suitably creepy and unknowable as the mysterious stranger and Zoe Bullock gives a standout performance as Marla, always selling the character’s overwhelming grief and confusion. The camerawork is also interesting, full of creepy close-ups and rack focus, adding to Marla’s sense of dislocation. A particularly memorable moment involves the camera slowly moving towards Marla as she handles the gun and contemplates her next action.
Hideous makes creative use of colour grading. At the beginning of the film, the colours are warm and inviting showing Marla’s contentedness with her life. At the climax, the colours are desaturated and dull, representing Marla’s anguish.
Hideous is a smart, creepy and memorable short film, which resembles the best of horror anthologies in its tone and commitment to strong storytelling.
‘Hideous’ was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.