Saturday, June 3, 2017

Short Film Spotlight: SPAWN: THE RECALL

Welcome back to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT. Today we're continuing a short series on superhero fan-films. This time, we're taking a look at the short film...SPAWN: THE RECALL.

In the last review, I mentioned that the target audience of a fan film is usually the hardcore fans of whatever property they're adapting. However, as interesting a perspective is one where you're not necessarily a fan, or at least not as big a fan as the people the short film was made for. I am not a huge fan of Spawn, mainly just because I've never looked into him much, so this film was very interesting for me because of my relative ignorance to the subject. It's also interesting because, unlike my last review, Batman: City of Scars, which was about half an hour long, this film clocks in at around 7 minutes, so the filmmakers have to do a lot more in less time. With that said, it largely succeeds at that, and The Recall acts very effectively as a teaser or a taste of what someone should expect if he/she wants to get into Spawn.

The story focuses on a woman who is looking for her lost child, while the child finds himself in a strange and surreal place in the presence of great evil. Meanwhile, something is calling to the woman, something powerful. It's an incredibly simple story, as necessitated by the short run time, but it's milked for all it's worth in the film. The actors the filmmakers got to portray the mother and the son are both pretty effective, especially the mother who gets the bulk of the lines in the film. It also has an excellent sense of sound design. The child is trapped in what seems to be some demonic twisted realm, and the sounds sell that atmosphere really well. The film is also very effective at getting it's brief narrative across, with the reveal of what the woman and her child have to do with Spawn coming at a great moment and making things quite tense. And the way it ends really makes me want to finally dive into some Spawn comics.

Technically, the film shows its limitations, but still manages to do some interesting things with it. I won't knock it too hard for low quality CG given the budget, but I will say there are some ways they could've avoided drawing attention to it. In particular, there's a CG fly that looks really bad and doesn't really add much to the film other than show more of the seams. That being said, Spawn looks great. His ghostly flowing cloak looks epic, the CG looks a lot better when you get a huge amount of it going like it does towards the end, and it's clear that they really wanted to bring those comic pages to life with this scene. It does a great job of evoking Spawn's classic look while keeping to the consistent art design.

Spawn: The Recall serves as a potent reminder that budget, and specifically time, should never be something that prevents you from delivering a quality product. The film looks great and it evokes the feel of those comic covers I see all the time. Spawn is a character who's often accused of being more style than substance, but this film makes a great case for their being a lot you can do with this character and with the mythos that very clearly exists in that universe. It really makes me wish for a follow-up, perhaps even something even more ambitious with a longer running time. In short, it's a gift from the heavens. Or from hell, as the case may be.

If you have a short film or know of one you'd like to see featured on SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT, please EMAIL me and don't forget to like and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!!

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