The Barn (Short 2021)
Film: The Barn
Director: Damon Nash White
Writer: Justice Tirapelli-Jamail and Damon Nash White
Starring: Rocío de la Grana, Justice Tirapelli-Jamail and Miguel Sandoval
This is a short film that I was asked if I’d be interested in seeing a screener by Hayley Brinkman. From the little bit of information that was provided to me, this sounded interesting. It was using some buzzwords that I’ll get into shortly. The synopsis is after the disappearance of his younger sister, a man begins experiencing increasingly disturbing dreams of raw chicken.
Much like the synopsis states, the first images we are getting is something on a pole, a barn and someone cutting up raw chicken. We cut back and forth in a sort of montage. Part of it is a slow pan to see that on top of this pole is actually a whole bird, it has just been defeathered. This turns out to be the nightmare of the man we are following, Justice Tirapelli-Jamail.
He gets up and goes into another room. We see Julia (Rocío de la Grana) asleep. He takes one of her earrings out and places on a desk in her room. She is then gone. We see images of her with the man going toward her, but her fleeing. This is an interesting way to say that she is missing. We never learn the reason why, but there are flashes across her face that something happened between them. It is also interesting as her disappearing is haunting her brother.
The deeper we get into this short, the more surreal things get. The man is led to the barn from his nightmare, where things become even more terrifying inside.
That is where I’ll leave my recap. To be honest, it would be quite difficult to spoil this. This short needs to be experienced. There is no dialogue. I’m not one to read the synopsis if I don’t have to, so the whole time I thought this was his daughter. It doesn’t alter things when I found out it was his sister. I could still feel the longing and the despair he feels with her being gone and feeling helpless. They are both able to convey things without talking through their facial expressions which is good.
I will be honest about something here. I’m not entirely sure what the significance of the images of chicken is. What I will say is that it is gross. It does have a similar feeling as to what would happen to a human body if it is chopped up. That was one idea that I went to. Our lead is thinking that she could be dead, but doesn’t want to believe it. These images are quite surreal and it kept my attention to see what I could discover within them.
What also helps this feeling though is the soundtrack, cinematography and the effects. For the former, it does some interesting things that made me feel uncomfortable. I think the music selections are one of the strongest parts for sure. The images we see are creepy, but the soundtrack elevates it. I’d give credit here as well to the cinematography. This is shot beautifully so that also helped me get sucked into it. The effects were done practical from what I could tell. Some of them are gross in a natural way. There are a couple of things that I would like to know more about that we see later into this that were unnerving. Let’s just say they look to be masks of sorts and I don’t know what it means.
So then in conclusion here, this was an interesting piece of cinema. I always say that for me, shorts either work as a contained story in which they tell everything they need to or they could be fleshed out more. The ones that I like tend to fall into these two groups. This is the former. I don’t know if we need to extend this out as I feel it conveys its story in an interesting way. The acting is interesting with no dialogue, but I think both de la Grana and Tirapelli-Jamail do well in conveying things with facial expressions. The cinematography is beautiful. The soundtrack is on point. The effects are based in practical from what I could tell and are creepy. The only thing I’m wondering is why raw chicken. Despite that, I found this is an above average short that is just below being good.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10