Short horror chiller Agatha is a masterclass in Gothic dread
This review will be short because the film we’re discussing here, now, in this space, is short. Eight minutes from head to tail, to be exact. But nestled within those eight minutes are more unsettling and stylish passages of dread than most feature length chillers could ever hope to possess.
The movie in question is Agatha, a shivery sliver of a picture, written, directed and edited by Timothy Vandenberg. It’s been quietly doing the rounds at select festivals and is now being secretly screened for various film websites in hope that they will spread the word about just how terrifying the movie is. And it is terrifying. And we’re doing our part to make sure you’re aware of just how terrifying it is.
The set up is simple: in a mist-shrouded Gothic manor, a filthy-faced little girl, presumably an orphan or some sort of street urchin is commissioned by the stern matriarch of the house to take food up the stairs to the dusty attic, nightly, for whomever – or whatever – lives up there. The child is warned not to stray past the bed and to leave the plate of glistening raw refuse either on the floor or bedside table. The girl does as she is told and is rewarded for her efforts. Though every time she repeats the process, the attic’s resident continues to…move. To shift around the room.
And that’s all we’ll tell you. For now.
Agatha means business. Like the best short horror films, it gives us a fragment of a larger story and gives us ample breathing space to fill in the narrative gaps before abandoning, leaving us cold and with endless questions and hungry for more. It’s an immaculate work of Gothic horror and boasts one of the most effective sound designs (by Diego Jimenez) I’ve heard in any contemporary genre film of any length.
We’re not sure when you can see the film or where, but stay tuned to Agatha‘s official Facebook page to stay on top of its journey. Vandenberg tells us a feature film version is in the works and we’re very excited to see that develop too.
Watch the trailer below and tell us what you think.