So…how many doomsday scenarios have we, as horror fans, seen? Daunting question, isn’t it? From the prospect of hostile alien invasion, to a pandemic of flesh-eating bacteria, to the old standby of a zombie apocalypse, we’ve been privy to a wide range of end-of-the-world concepts. These can be done on a grand scale, or from the perspective of a small group struggling to survive. When a filmmaker broaches this subject, it takes some creativity to stand out from the pack — otherwise, you often wind up with just another rehash of something we’ve seen a million times.
It’s Lurking, the new short from PROco PROductions, takes to this path — how does it stack up?
Jake comes back home, presumably from college. He seems a little disappointed that mom and dad aren’t home to greet him, but they did leave a note saying they’d gone “to the island”, and that he should be stocked up on food. Dropping onto the couch like any classic slacker, he soon gets a call from an old friend, and it’s decided that hey — the house is Jake’s for a while, so why not have a big “welcome home” bash? A few phone calls and hourslater, the home is packed with drunken friends, selfie-taking girls, and a wide range of good times. During a lull, someone starts talking about a mass, cult-like suicide earlier in the week, and that perhaps it was caused by tonight’s “super blood moon” — an event that only takes place once every 125,000 years, when shadow demons are loosed upon the earth to feed on souls.
The cryptic story is shaken off by the drunken crowd, and they party on — but when Jake awakens sometime later and sees a possibly dead friend drug into the darkness by unseen hands, the “LOSER” tag someone playfully scribed on his unconscious forehead may take on a far deeper and more sinister meaning than he could have possibly imagined…
For a really low-budget feature, this flick had some really nice camera work. The setups and movements did a good job of putting the audience in the film. From the relatable moments of Jake coming home to an empty house and making himself a sloppy PB & J to the frenetic but fun pace of the party to the dark tension of the shadowy attacks, the visual narrative packed everything into twelve minutes without feeling forced or truncated. The acting is serviceable for such a flick — you’re not going to find Oscar-worthy performances, but they are definitely either on the level of or beyond the norm for such a production. There aren’t many effects to speak of, but the use of shadow, unexpected angles, and the glowing eyes of the otherwise invisible attackers do a more than adequate job of generating the desired fear.
It’s Lurking is a micro-budget indie short — going into it, you know what to expect as far as production value; however, this one has enough of that creativity that I mentioned earlier, combined with the talented behind-the-camera work, to be a far better and more engrossing 12 minutes in front of the screen than a lot of features I’ve sat through. PROco is proving that they’re in it to win it when it comes to indie horror, and I for one am curious to see where they go from here.
Maybe their spin in this little tale isn’t the most original twist on the end-of-the-world scenario we’ve seen, but hey — it ain’t zombies.