“Something is in my room, waiting to kill me,” Emma says softly, reading from a prepared note smudged in something black.
Judging from her friend’s reaction, they’ve done this before.
“You called us over for this again?” her friend Matt (Adam Tsekhman) asks, clearly frustrated.
Lars (Jade Hassouné) takes another approach. “Just tell us what’s really happening this time.”
The door to Emma’s bedroom is locked with a heavy chain. No matter how her friends are reacting, for Emma, whatever is in there is very real.
She’s sick, her friend’s reason. She needs help. But for now, they need to show her that there’s nothing to fear. Lars decides to take a look around.
“If you go in there,” Emma (Ashley Leggat) tells him, “I’ll never see you again.”
Thus begins director Ali Mashayekhi‘s fantastic short film ONE IN TWO PEOPLE, which screened at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival in Toronto this past November.
This short film packs a lot of punch in its six-minute runtime, but it does so with commendable subtly. The camera is ready and centered when we view Emma’s friends but floats into eerie Dutch angles whenever someone begins to question their stance on Emma’s claim. Dialogue (written by the talented Oswald Mahogany) is natural but heightened, balancing the grounded reality of her friends with Emma’s fear of more supernatural implications. In fact, there’s not a moment out of place in the whole film. Every line builds on the next, which lets the story flow easily to its creepy conclusion.
Mashayekhi had a clear vision for this film, and his skill as a director is obvious in every frame. This was a team of creators who were completely in the zone, on the same page, working to create a simple story with all the style of a big-budget horror feature. The result is compelling, suspenseful, and totally satisfying.
ONE IN TWO PEOPLE is a wonderful short that delivers on all fronts. If you get a chance to check it out, don’t pass it up.