Home is Where the Haunt Is
Film: Home is Where the Haunt Is
Directors: Ashley Sledge and Ken Sledge
Writers: Ashley Sledge and Ken Sledge
Starring: Ken Sledge III, Ashley Sledge and Kenny Sledge IV
This is a short film that I learned about thanks to the co-writer/co-director and star of Ken Sledge III. I went to high school with him. I was quite impressed to see that him along with his family made a short like this so it was exciting when he shared it with me. I will provide the link at the bottom of my review to check it out on YouTube as well.
Synopsis: after the unexpected and unexplained death of his mother, Kolsten (Ken Sledge III) travels back to the house she passed away in to try and find answers.
Much as the synopsis states, we see Kolsten as he drives to the house referenced. It then shifts to a flashback to a hearse driver, played by Nick Harris, talking to Kolsten. This gives us the backstory that Kolsten’s mother passed away under mysterious circumstances. He goes to the house for some answers or a clue as to what happened. While he is there, strange things happen. He gets a call from his wife, voiced by Ashley Sledge, but the call drops. She wants him to come home. He has unfinished business though. There is also a little girl, played by Khloe Sledge, along with a strange person played by Bill Braman. Kolsten needs answers, but at what cost?
That is where I’m going to leave my recap as that fleshes out the synopsis just a bit more as well as introduce some of the characters. This runs about 13 minutes and I didn’t want to spoil things. What I will say is that this isn’t the most original idea, but what I think works here is that it brings heart. There is a dedication here for Wendy. One of the production companies in the beginning is 10/28/67, which is her date of birth. This movie feels like a cathartic way for Ken to work with her passing. Being that I know him, I could be bias, but it feels like this comes through with the product.
To get into the meat of what we get here, Kolsten questions the death of his mother. What is interesting is that the drive to know causes him to neglect his family. His wife calls and wants him to come home. Needing to find an answer causes him to stay in the house. Knowing that Ken’s favorite horror movie is House, this movie is paying homage there. I like that weird things happen which keep him there. It feels like they’re giving him a sign and he can’t ignore it. This comes in the form of a Khloe, which we see that she could a be a ghost. There is also this stranger in Bill. He offers Kolsten a drink with a warning. He is blinded by needing to know. This causes him to not see what is more important in front of him.
There’s not much more I want to delve into for the story and I don’t want to spoil things. I’ll go to the acting. I thought it is solid across the board. This is made on a shoestring budget. I can believe all the characters and that is all that matters. The best performance would have to be Braman though. This is probably because he is the most mysterious of the characters and I’m drawn to villains when it comes to performances. I will say as well that Khloe was adorable. What I will say is that no one was bad and in a case like this, that is all I ask for.
The last things to go into would be the filmmaking aspects. I was surprised here. Not that this team wasn’t capable of what we got, but I’ve seen products with a bigger budget that aren’t put together this well. If this is coming off as a backhanded compliment, that isn’t my intention. I think the cinematography is good. We get some interesting shots and movement of the camera. It was interesting that I saw a video from Sledgehammer Horror pointing out homages and there was one from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that I wasn’t thinking of. The location used adds a bit of character which is good. I don’t necessarily love the soundtrack, but it also doesn’t hurt the short either. This just comes down to preference for me. The actual music though is solid.
In conclusion, this is a solid effort. I think that we are getting an interesting short that I would watch a fleshed-out version if they decided to go that route. When it is coming to shorts, that is one of the highest praises that I can give. I also say this as I think there is more story here to tell. The acting fits the characters. I think that the filmmaking aspects are solid. This is made on a small budget, but that doesn’t hinder it in the slightest. I give a lot of credit for this family and friends to get out there and make something for sure.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Click to Watch: Home is Where the Haunt Is