2018

JUMPSCARECUT: Defarious (Short)

Year: 2018
Directed by: Chase Michael Pallante
Cast: Janet Miranda, Jason Torres, Sonia Sierra
Runtime: 13m 17s

“A young woman is tormented by her nightmares and they are beginning to manifest so strongly she becomes disillusioned between the world of her imagination and what is truly reality.”

Written by Tom Sheffield

Defarious is the latest short film from R&F Entertainment and is directed by Chase Michael Pallante. This short has just finished it’s incredibly successful festival run, picking up a number of award nominations and wins along the way, and is now available to stream!

The film revolves around Amy (Janet Miranda), who is tormented by her nightmares. After one of her nightmares jolts her awake in a breathless panic, Amy immediately seeks comfort from the framed picture of her mum, followed by her reaching for her phone which was charging down by the side of her bed. Amy realises her phone isn’t where she left it and decides to go look for it, but while she hunts for her phone, something is hunting her and the lines of reality and imagination blur.

Janet Miranda has only a line or two of dialogue in this film and so the film heavily relies on her physical acting capabilities. Miranda is incredibly talented and her performance here is superb – completely sucking the audience in to this situation and making you shout at the screen to try and help her. Defarious marks a strong directorial debut for Chase Michael Pallante, who also wrote and edited the film. Chase is always very involved with the films he is a part of and has been credited on various projects for producing, sound effects editing, casting, and a handful of other departments – this knowledge and experience will surely benefit Chase on his future projects and we here at JUMPCUT look forward to seeing what he cooks up.

One of aspects I really loved about this short was the music and the sound effects because they both are both used so effectively and really ramp up this psychological horror and take it to the next level. I knew this would likely be the case following how prominently music was used during the short’s marketing. Jonathan Martinez’s score has a familiar and nostalgic sound to it, reminiscent of 80s horrors and slashers that Chase clearly used as influences for this short.

From the word go, the score sets the tone of the film and the tension just keeps on building.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible work from the special effects and makeup department. Jason Torres is completely unrecognisable under the haunting white makeup, and the design of the character as a whole is simple yet terrifying. There is also a scene later in the film that could have come off as incredibly cheesy if the practical effects were half-arsed. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case and special effects make-up artist Greer Gillespie has done an incredible job, both with Torres’ character and the aforementioned scene I won’t spoil for you.

The entirety of this short is set at night in an unlit house, but the film’s cinematographer, Christian Reyes, and Chase have used the night setting to their advantage and have created a truly chilling and claustrophobic atmosphere that will make you leave the lights on in your house. We’re excited to have been given the opportunity to chat with Janet Miranda and some of the cast that worked on Defarious and will be sharing those with you all shortly!

Defarious is an unsettling psychological horror that respectfully pays homage to the classic slashers of the 80s whilst adding an unnerving supernatural twist. Each shot is filled with tension and you’ll find your eyes darting around the screen looking for something that isn’t there.

Turn the volume up, switch the lights off, and prepare for a real scare this Spooktober.

Tom’s Verdict:

4

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