Oh my freaking goodness, I think I just had a goshdarn heart attack.
And if you ever get a chance to see this amazing horror short called Familiar, then I'm pretty sure that you will too. This was literally some of the best twenty minutes of filmmaking that I have seen in a while and I only wish that I had filmed myself watching it. I've always believed that the best horror films are the ones that make you have those unconscious physical reactions to what you are seeing, and hoo doggy, I reacted so hard to this thing that my heart is still palpitating a bit.
Robert Nolan's portrayal of John is spectacular. He is subdued and almost non-expressive most of the time, but you can tell that there is a lot more going on behind the mask. The best performance of the piece, however, is the voiceover. The writing for this is excellent as well and at first sounds very normal and at times quite funny ("Oh, you're always on time? So are my bowel movements"). As the story progresses, the voice becomes more forceful and commanding, telling John how he should really feel about his wife's pregnancy and talking him into doing some pretty horrific things - like slipping pills into his wife's food to give her an abortion. After awhile the voice starts to sound almost inhuman with its level of craziness, and while John is able to resist it sometimes, it still holds a strong influence over him because deep down he apparently agrees with what it is telling him.
Familiar, this situation only escalates further into John having to perform some hideous self-mutilation - another topic that people with a low tolerance for pain will find almost hard to stand.
The bulges on John's side disappear (all while the voice is telling him to leave it alone) and move down to his upper leg so naturally, John decides it will be a good idea to try to cut whatever is in there out. Using a box cutter, which also freaks me out because that is a tool that I use every day at work, John starts cutting into his leg and... well, I won't completely spoil it here, but let's just say that I almost wanted to cover my eyes and not see what was in there. Can you believe that?! This little horror short turned me into a total horror pussy. It was fantastic.
Director Richard Powell really turned out something awesome here. Apparently this short was actually a sequel to another short film he made called Worm, which is not as graphic but stars John Dodd's brother, Geoffrey, as a man who also has a voice in his head. Would really love to get a look at that one too if it's possible. This is a filmmaker with some real talent who will no doubt bring us more horrific stories to enjoy in the future.