Short Film Review: HOOKER ASSASSIN

HOOKER ASSASSIN is the first short from aspiring filmmaker Misty Dawn. The short, which was written by Dawn and Hanna Campbell, has a runtime of approx. 12 minutes and stars Cortney Palm (Zombeavers) and Daniel Hampel (Homecoming). The short centers on Jessi (Palm), a hooker who gets picked up by the wrong John and kidnapped; however, what this John doesn't realize is that Jessi will do whatever it takes to survive and ensure the safety of her daughter. 

In order for the film to be effective, Dawn had to rely on her two main characters: Jessi and The John. Without their chemistry and their talent, this film could have easily fallen apart, even with Dawn's direction. However, Palm and Hampel pulled off their characters personalities seamlessly and made their interactions with each other powerful and intense. I do have to admit, I was very taken with Daniel Hampel's performance as The John. He was frighteningly good, to the point where I wasn't sure where the performance ended and the actual person began. As for Palm, she was terrific in pulling on our heartstrings and making the audience root for her survival. It was also wonderful to see such a strong-willed female fight back without relenting to her kidnappers demands. 

I think the most important aspect of this film, though, is the focus on sex workers. Society gives hookers a bad rep, but really, who are we to judge? We don't know their stories or where they are coming from, and HOOKER ASSASSIN is a perfect example of that. The audience is shown in this short that Jessi is doing whatever she can to make sure she is able to support her young daughter. Sure, it's not an ideal situation, and it comes with a lot of dangerous disadvantages, but the money helps to support her family and that's what's important to Jessi. The fierce femininity that Dawn showcases through her directing and co-writing with Campbell translates perfectly on the screen and gives the viewer pause as to how they view Jessi and those who have to do whatever it takes to get by. 

In terms of violence and gore, those who are a fan of bloodshed and carnage will be elated with the outcome of this short. There's one scene in particular, which I will not ruin for anyone that wishes to view this film, that will make women across the board cheer in exuberance. The violence definitely has a realistic nature to it which makes the moments that showcase the assault on Jessi difficult to watch. With that said, the violence and gore isn't shown for the sake of shock value, but instead directly correlates with what is happening within the story. 

Overall, HOOKER ASSASSIN is one of the best short films I have seen this year. I loved the dominating female presence not only in the film, but also with those that helped make this short what it is. Director Misty Dawn is quite talented when it comes to storytelling while also making sure everything comes alive on screen. My only criticism is that I wish the short was longer so I could learn more about Jessi and her past, but with an ending that leaves the door open for a feature length film, I may get my wish granted. With that said, make sure to keep your eyes out for HOOKER ASSASSIN when it's released as this is a short you won't want to miss. 

Devastatingly Yours,
Shannon M.