Welcome to Dirty Shorts, an ongoing series in which we present to you reviews of short horror films for your entertainment and elucidation. Entertainment and elucidation not guaranteed. Your mileage may vary.
The Captured Bird
Directed by Jovanka Vuckovic
THE STORY: A little girl leaves the sight of her parents, walks into an abandoned mansion with bleeding walls, and meets weird creatures. Basically it’s Pan’s Labyrinth set inside the mansion from Resident Evil 4 (the game, not Afterlife).
The Captured Bird is underwhelming. I hate to come straight out of the gate with such a negative tone, but this is a short film so bland, so middle of the road that it fails on every level.
Here’s the thing: it’s not bad from any specific standpoint. The basic story isn’t bad, the child actor (Skyler Wexler) that serves as the lead hits her marks and doesn’t act like a spaz, there’s a budget, there’s CG effects. Oh, and when I said Pan’s Labyrinth, that might have to do something with Guillermo del Toro executive producing this. The Captured Bird has everything in the world going for it, and in the end it isn’t something that is so good I have to sing its praises, nor is it something so bad that I feel offended that my time was burned by something awful. It’s just mediocre.
There is one thing I’m going to bitch about: off camera deaths. The Captured Bird is a horrendous offender of this sort of sloppy narrative building. So apparently the little girl dies at the end of this. How do I know that? Bravofact, a funder of this short placed the following synopsis on their YouTube Page:
“The darkly poetic fable of a little girl who witnesses the birth of five terrifying supernatural beings that bring about her demise.”
First of all….UH, SPOILERS?! Towards the climax, they show the little girl being approached by some very slow moving Playstation One-era monster things and she can’t find her way out of the room. Then we don’t see a kill or a body or a consequence. The little girl peaced out of the ending (which may have been the smart choice on her part).
Second of all, did she die? Really? Did something else happen? Were those things some sort of weird bee-fleas? I usually celebrate when a film leaves the viewer with more questions than answers, but this makes no sense. Before the bee-flea reveal, what was going on with the possibly friendly/possibly evil snake tentacles with the flower tips? None of these things leave me with a sense of wonder or any sort of feeling that I just witnessed magic. I feel more like I watched an early 2000’s SyFy Channel network bumper.
The Captured Bird does leave me one question (which I feel like I’ve already answered). Which is worse: to fail spectacularly or to succeed slightly? I don’t know. What I do know is some stuff happened. I’m struggling to tell you what.
WHAT MOVIE SHOULD I WATCH AFTER THIS? Resident Evil, Mimic, The Others
Images courtesy of YouTube
Writer. Wrestling mark. Dog parent. Halloween enthusiast. Always wondering about the me on Earth 616 and what he/she/it’s up to. Currently residing in Los Angeles.