Portland Horror Film Festival Short Review: AS THEY CONTINUE TO FALL (2016)

A selection of the Portland Horror Film Festival, writer C. Robert Cargill (Doctor Strange and Sinister) and director Nikhil Bhagat present the tale of a mysterious and dangerous drifter killing off the fallen angels in AS THEY CONTINUE TO FALL. A snapshot of a larger story yet to be told, this short form film has a graphic novel feel to it as a feared hunter played by John Henry Whitaker takes down multiple fallen angels with cunning obsession and a bandaged and worn rifle.

Cultivating tension through the hunter’s preparation, observation, childhood flashback sequences, and various confrontations, AS THEY CONTINUE TO FALL is dark storytelling and execution that immerses us in a macabre canvas of the corrupt world. Creating demonic style angels that reflect more of the modern portrait of horror storytelling, Bhagat, through well-crafted sound design and a variety of visual and special FX, shows a potent and excruciating burst of cringe worthy violence that grabs you whether through action or intent. Wishing that the short had been extended to offer more background, more battles and a contrasted darkness versus angelic beauty, AS THEY CONTINUE TO FALL is a solid selection and a proof of concept style piece.

The score, from Haim Mazar, is on point with the rise and fall of the melody offering both comfort, painful recollection and a constricting effectiveness. The editing is solid, lingering on sequences that stick with you through timing, framing and reaction. The cinematography allows the action to develop in the scene blending effective performance with post-production art. The coloring and city design return me to several modern adaptions, television and films like “Supernatural”, The Scribbler, Dredd, He Never Died, and Legion.

Containing a near perfect horror scene focusing on the putting down of an angel, Whitaker’s performance has that grizzled and Wolverine-like charisma which adds depth to his character and danger. This is most welcome, since many of the cookie cutter antiheroes never seem to be as effective or captivating in such a short amount of time. AS THEY CONTINUE TO FALL does have its share of questions though, as we wonder how the hunter came to take down the fallen angels. Does he hunt for god? How did his childhood play into this sight and mission? Why does he collect tokens after? With a variety of questions, it makes you hungry for more. AS THEY CONTINUE TO FALL has potential and is missing very little in the less than seven-minute running time.

Jay Kay
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