This is something that doesn’t happen often, me reviewing a short film. And before we begin, I will be 100% transparent with this. I was asked by one of the people who made this short to review it early. The guy who asked me is someone I consider a friend, and I wanted to make that clear because any potentially good things I might have to say about this are not because of my previous affiliation with these guys. I will judge this on it’s own merits. So let’s find out if it’s any good.
Ladies and gentlemen… “Conscientia”.
Samuel (Jakob Lewis Barnes) is struggling with his inability to sleep, which causes him to slowly lose his mind and perception of reality. This soon comes to a head during one fateful night. So what we have here is a weird yet interesting horror plot that is told in a somewhat non-linear style. You can still easily pick up on what order things are in, but it’s still not a straight line of events. And I have to say that I quite enjoyed the plot here. It is simple enough to follow along easily, but it still has some slightly more complex ideas that will make you think. The short format makes it feel a little bit thin and not fully developed, but they still do a pretty good job to condense the idea into a shorter format.
Here we have two characters, one that we get to know a little bit, and one that is just kind of there. I get that you can’t give them super big arcs when you keep it this short, but I didn’t find myself fully invested in the two here. Jakob Lewis Barnes plays Samuel, our protagonist/insomniac. His psychological struggle is interesting to watch, but I’d like to see it developed a bit more. But at least Barnes gave a really good performance here. Then we have Hannah Thomas as Lauren, a woman that Samuel seems to be dating. And she’s the one that I explained as “just there”. With Samuel you get some idea of what type of character he is, but with Lauren it’s just “Hello, I am character” and not much else. Thomas gives a good performance, even though her character doesn’t do much. So overall, good performances, okay-ish characters.
The score was composed by Martin Gratton, and I think he did a good job. The score was chilling and eerie, and it really helped sell the uneasy feel that the director clearly wanted to go for. So yeah, good score for the short.
This short was directed by Nick Deal and I think he did a good job working with his limitations. The short feels somewhat claustrophobic since it’s set mostly inside one small apartment, and Deal’s direction (combined with Gratton’s aforementioned score) helps the short feel tense, eerie, and creepy, elevating it beyond it’s small budget. The talent and ambition here is great enough to be able to make something that exceeds their limitations, and I respect that quite a bit.
While not perfect, “Conscientia” is still a pretty damn good short. It has a good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it is that some aspects feel slightly underdeveloped (but it’s not a dealbreaker). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Conscientia” is a 9,11/10. While flawed, I highly recommend watching it (when it gets released).
My review of “Conscientia” is now completed.
Firstly: Nick, Jakob, Jumpcut… thank you for giving me this opportunity, I feel truly honored.
Secondly: “Conscientia” will be released on Monday, only on youtube.