Not Him (2024)
Not Him (2024)

Genre: Short and Psychological Thriller Running Time: 15 min.

Release Date: March 22nd, 2024 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Sarah Young Actors: Tori Ernst, Charlie McElveen, Ryan Nicholas Cooper, Katharine Chin

 


 

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ith haunting, whale-like sound effects presiding over a darkened bedroom, Michelle (Tori Ernst) is suddenly awoken by her husband, John (Charlie McElveen), glaring at her with blackened eyes. “I thought things were getting better,” muses friend Kim (Katharine Chin) the next morning, when Michelle confronts her with details about John’s escalating, abnormal, aggressive behavior. Perhaps it’s stress from work or a bad diet or a standard relationship rough patch that’s causing all the fuss. Or perhaps he’s a body-snatcher.

“This was a dream, though, right?” Despite a glib cynicism or two, the actors take the scenario seriously, adding to the sense that this is a horror picture – or an episode of realistic domestic violence, lightly hidden amid a thriller premise (the title is blatant, too). It also has obvious notes of mental disorders, lurking beneath a fictional arena, which lend themselves organically to a tale about – or disguised as – otherworldly possession.

The cinematography, making the most of a shaky cam, is similarly indicative of overwrought chills, along with the pervading senses of disbelief and worrying too much over innocuous over-analyzation (a common motif among psychological horror yarns). Ultimately, this brief narrative reveals few original or eye-opening revelations, considering the pointed visuals of a psychosomatically manipulated soul, other than the reiteration of the significance of having a dependable friend in a moment of danger. And it’s not merely having that friend; it’s also, weightily, having that friend believe in a perceived threat. It’s not a bad idea for a short subject, but it doesn’t do much beyond presenting an evident message about spousal abuse; it’s far too simplistic and uneventful to have much lasting power, even if that message will surely hit harder for those who have experienced grounded versions of this analogical horror premise.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10