★★★★ – “Satisfyingly expeditious.”
Obscurity is written, directed & edited by Ashton Gleckman and stars Misty Sisco, Marcus Porter, Sydney Janay, Jack Gibson, Brian Graves, Willaine St. Pierre Sandy, Joe Kennedy, Lec Zorn, Bella Garcia and Taylor Hoekstra Tuttle.
The story of Rachel Wade, who shortly after her father died, is abducted by the “Slender Man,” and taken to his dark dimension called the Obscure. Now, with nowhere to turn and nowhere to hide, her mother, Suzanne Wade must find her way into this dimension and take back her daughter.
Not many filmmakers have tackled the supernatural character, The Slender Man, but Ashton Gleckman manages to capture its eeriness in a fast-paced horror/thriller that explores how humans are affected by its actions. With just under an hour to tell a story, Obscurity feels ultimately too short. The story is unique, taking an interesting direction as the film progresses, however with such a short running length I wonder how much more could have been developed on. That said, the 48 minute duration is satisfyingly expeditious, and never falls back into a pacing-trap. I give props to Gleckman on his writing ability, who at only 16 years of age, has already built up a strong foundation for his career in filmmaking.
The acting by our leads, Misty Sisco and Marcus Porter is, although at times a little rough on the edges, fantastic. I thought Sisco took a while to settle into her character’s mindset, but during the final act she pulled through and gave a realistic performance. Porter is frightening as Slender Man, the mysterious tall figure. His walk was creepy, brilliantly aided with VFX by Nathaniel Shields & Tre Bennett, adding a jolting/flickering feel to the character. I almost wish he had more screen-time, but Porter did a great job with his portrayal nonetheless. Sydney Janay has some really awesome chances to shine in this psychological role, and while she’s young, she brings a strong sense of maturity to the character during the final act.
At times the story rushes on (having to cover a whole year) and some of the dialogue feels unusually forced, but only due to the aforementioned running length. So, I was having some trouble connecting to the characters, but the emotional bearing was very much there and it still transported me into this world, especially during the final 20 minutes.
What we have to keep in mind is that this is a low-budget independent film, and so it’s easier to pick up on things that are slightly more covered up in higher-quality productions, but truly, Gleckman and the team have done a fine job.
Director and composer, Ashton Gleckman teams up with Andrew Rakhman, delivering a chilling yet beautiful original score. Featuring a dark and gritty sound-bed, the duo ensure all emotions are covered in a tense and complex form. There were a couple moments I felt could have been less musically-oriented, if only to focus more on the important subject matter. However, you can tell how much Gleckman pays attention to the editing and how well the score can perform when constructed appropriately. This film felt unique in that sense; that most editors will play around with a composers work, but when the editor and composer are the same person, the real magic happens. It’s all-embracing.
Verdict; Obscurity is a tense thriller that features some blossoming talent and a chilling score, and although short in duration, the caring attention to detail is clearly visible.
Obscurity – ★★★★ (6/10)
Watch the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2tLT83nmmk