Limbo: Short horror film is haunting and emotional
This will be a short review of an even shorter horror film, the Guillermo del Toro-approved existential psychodrama Limbo. The movie runs only eight minutes and, like all great short films, offers only an open-ended snapshot of a larger narrative, leaving the audience with more questions than answers. Even greater than features, the short film has the ability to serve as poetry of a sort. And Limbo is just that. A poem. A sketch. An impression and a slice of mood, of tone, atmosphere and emotion. It’s lovely and haunting and strange and disturbing. And the great Sam Elliott provides the voice of a dying mystical dog. So there’s that.
Co-written and directed by editor Will Blank and based on the graphic novella by Marian Churchland, Limbo tells the abstract tale on a lone man, wandering across the desert, a post-apocalyptic landscape of eye-level, John Ford-esque vistas, abandoned homes and sweltering heat. Whether or not this environment exists only in the man’s mind is never quite explained, nor should it need to be. Eventually, deep in the desert, the man finds a dog, gasping and dehydrated and dying. After sating the heaving beast with water, the animal telepathically tells the man that as thanks for his kindness, he will grant the man one wish before he dies. What that wish is, is the secret of the film and won’t be revealed here. I mean, it’s only eight minutes and we’ve probably already spoiled the movie enough.
Shot in 35mm and a favorite at fests like Fantasia and Fantastic Fest, Limbo will be coming to VOD on June 27th. It’s well worth your time. The centerpiece of the picture is the dog itself, a drooling, battered animatronic puppet created by Tim Martin (who worked on the Hellboy films, hence the del Toro endorsement) that does indeed have a gravelly voice granted by outlaw actor Sam Elliot that adds texture and tragedy to a movie that already has ample doses of both. It’s a strange thing. Limbo is a mere glimpse into a world that begs to be expanded and yet it’s one of the most affecting and unforgettable filmed distractions I’ve seen in a very long time.
Seek it out and visit the official Limbo Facebook page to learn more.