We’ve all had the experience: Sometime in the dead of night, either during a period of wakefulness or before we slip into a deep sleep and are still somewhat aware of our surroundings, we’ve heard something in the darkness. Without opening our eyes, we adjust — turn so we might hear things a little better, make sure it wasn’t just our imagination. Nope! There it is again…we might open our eyes now, peering through our darkened rooms…we may even sit up, glance around expectantly.
I know in my case, it’s typically one of the cats screwing around with something, or someone’s gotten outta bed to go get a glass of water — but still, however mundane, that moment in the darkness where you hear something that, in context, you aren’t supposed to, is one of those golden times where the icy hand of fear threatens, even if only for an instant.
The depths of this threat are explored by Greg Bellavia in his short film, Nibble.
Andy and his girlfriend Linda share an apartment and what appears to be a great relationship. What they don’t share, however, are the sleepless nights Andy suffers from because of some kind of scratchy noises in the wall by his side of the bed. Although Linda can’t hear anything in the mornings, she believes Andy — not only because she trusts him, but because the exhaustion caused by his lack of sleep is pretty apparent. Having a big project coming up at his job this week, Linda offers to sleep on his side of the bed, in the hopes that he can get a good night’s rest…which he does…but the following morning changes both of their lives forever.
I was pretty impressed with the overall production value here — the film looks very polished. Sure, the small budget is evidenced in some of the settings, if you’re being nitpicky, but overall, the film has the look of a much more expensive production. At only a touch over six minutes, there’s of course not a lot of time for character development, but I have to say that the acting was much better than one typically gets from such shorts — a standout to me was Catherine Warner as Linda — her concern and compassion really shone in her performance, and that bounced off of Daniel Findlay’s portrayal of Andy in a way that added a lot of realism to the brief slice of life we as the audience are privy to.
Finally, the scary factor — I gotta tell ya, if I heard that sound that poor Andy suffers with, I’d either be tearing my walls out with a hammer in one hand and a shotgun in the other, or I’d probably just move. The sound design of this effect coupled with the lighting and Findlay’s performance create just that feeling of unease and concern I meant in the intro up there a the top. It’s unsettling, and the context of the short film eliminates the pesky questions like “why don’t they call an exterminator?” or “why not just move the bed?” that would be obvious in a longer film. No, this one is just right — with enough story and setup to get the wheels turning, but with more questions than answers when all is said and done — exactly where a good short should drop you off.
I for one will be interested in seeing where Bellavia goes from here…with what he shows in this six minutes, I think he will have a pretty interesting future in the business. Don’t just take my two-cent viewpoint on it, however — Greg has been kind enough to allow us to showcase this great little film of his right here below — so enjoy!!