23rd Apr2018

‘Guerilla’ Short Film Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Adrian Baez, Randy Burke, Carissa Carlberg, Lucy Dorado, Raul Gutierrez, Delaiah Hastie, Mars Mohamed, Kendall Morris, Lyddie Ward, Riley Yargus | Written and Directed by Shane Ryan


The year is 1989 and after a rocket launch from the American Military goes wrong, a virus has attacked the small town nearby. But a ten year old boy with a video camera might be able to help.

As a synopsis that doesn’t sound like your normal short film and after watching Guerilla, it really isn’t your normal short film… It’s more like a very long video montage. Or six music videos played non-stop together. If you think that sounds like a bad idea, it actually works out a lot better than you’d think.

With no dialogue whatsoever, the music is a huge part of Guerilla. Being set in the eighties and with a director that is clearly heavily influenced by the era, the music is synth-pop sounding and upbeat , with the odd moment that becomes a bit more dramatic and horror-like. Stranger Things fans will be very familiar with how this sounds and it’s all very very good. The lack of dialogue means the music was always going to be crucially important, so it’s a good job the filmmakers made all the right choices here. I’d love to get a copy of the movies soundtrack.

Guerilla looks great too. The cinematography is very impressive. Landscapes standout, the colours are bright and even the ‘chapter’ titles have a very cool-looking and vibrant font that explodes from the screen. It had moments, even including the aforementioned font, that this reminded me of one of my favourite recent movies, Turbo Kid. And in truth, Guerilla would have been improved by being a bit less serious and becoming more ‘all-out’ fun, much like Turbo Kid. It’s at its most interesting and enjoyable when it focuses on the young love story and when it has blood splattering all over the place. I suspect a low budget is the only reason we didn’t get to see more graphic and violent fight scenes. Thankfully what we get is very entertaining.

The story is fine but with the music video style it’s not quite as easy to follow as it should be. And the eighties gadgets aren’t as much a part of proceedings as I’d like to have seen. More use of the video camera, VHS tapes and a Walkman would have been my preference.

Based on his IMDb page, writer and director Shane Ryan is a very busy man, creating (and acting in) projects almost entirely in the horror genre. So perhaps with so much experience it’s no surprise that Guerilla looks and sounds so good. Short films give directors almost free reign to do whatever they want, on what is usually a small budget, and it’s good to see someone try to make something a bit different but also something that could easily be expanded into a full feature film without feeling like it would be repeating itself.

Ninety minutes of fun horror that splits between music videos and a ‘normal’ dialogue-based movie, would actually be something I’d like to see!


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