I had the pleasure to check out the new short Horror film “Pity” from Head Trauma Productions & up and coming Wisconsin (my home state!) director John Pata, whose first feature film “Dead Weight” I was quite fond of. Pity may only be about five and a half minutes long (minus the credits) but it’s got enough rigid tension to stick with you long after viewing. Similar to Dead Weight in that it doesn’t rely on gore to drill it’s way into your brain, rather it’s a much more psychological approach to an impending doom on the horizon.
Pata has quite a way with getting into your head without actually showing you too much, rather he leaves much to the imagination which often times if done correctly is a much better payoff. This one is a simple look into the mind of a man who’s reached rock bottom as he deals with a break up with some one he developed an incredibly unhealthy obsession with. It takes place almost entirely in his car during a thunderstorm, where he suffers from a mental breakdown and slowly reveals his plans for his ex later that night.
The scary thing about it all is that most off of us have had a break up and many have had a crazy ex who just can’t let go. This goes to some dark places and makes you wonder just what that crazy ex of your own could be capable of! There’s a scene where he pulls out a picture of himself and his ex when they were happy together. It’s quite chilling as it looks like any average couple you might see together on the street. However the man looks like a completely different person now as his rage and jealousy have cleared transformed him into a monster.
The film is shot beautifully too but it’s jarring flashes of rage make you feel like you’re going a little nutty yourself. At this rate it really excites me to see what Pata will do next. I think this one should have been submitted to The ABC’S of Death 2, the anthology that covers a grim scenario from every letter of the alphabet done in short 5 minute segments. The first ABC’S of Death could have benefited from quality film-making like this. “Pity” would have been a far better installment than “P is for Pressure”. In fact there were really only about three that really impressed me at all from that first anthology making me question if I’ll even check out the second.
My only real problem with Pity was that I was hoping we’d get a glimpse of the outcome of the crazy ex boyfriend’s plans. I’d forgotten for a moment I was watching a short film with some hefty credits at the end. It almost felt like a trailer. That’s not a bad thing though as Pity did leave me wanting more. So this has me on the watch to see what’s next for. Part of me would love to see Pata go balls out with a full on, no holds barred, effects heavy horror flick given he has a decent budget to work with. I think he’s pretty well versed in fine character development and atmosphere, the some of the hardest parts of what makes a quality fright film. I think he could probably blend both styles of horror together quite nicely. However if he chooses to continue to give us more quality psychological horror I’ll most definitely be back for more! Wisconsin Represent!