Childhood is often a brilliant thing to explore within the realm of horror. Because really, many people have their’s ended when doses of horrible realities meet our own wide-eyed innocence.
The Captured Bird is a 2012 short-film that explores in a most literal sense: with monsters.
The film, completely free of dialogue save for laughter and screams, relies solely on the expressive face of its young star, actor Skyler Wexler (little KIRA!).
Thankfully, Wexler’s expressive, little face is plenty compelling to carry the film as there is very little plot that unfolds within the 8-minute film. Though it doesn’t hurt that this film looks absolutely fantastic.
The story follows a little girl drawing in a rather over-grown park. While finishing her chalk drawing, a mysterious, oil-like liquid begins pouring from the cracks between the bricks. She cautiously stands up, and follows the trail to an intimidatingly large building that looms over her.
After climbing the steps, the girl begins to explore the grounds and interior of the building, spotting various little joys around the place like maggots. She’s coaxed by the tentacle-like oil to coming closer. It produces a flower for her, only to burn it – which amuses the little girl more than is probably should.
She eventually finds herself in a room where several figures begin to grow from the black puddle. The legless creatures are enough to scare her into action, though all too late as she can’t find her exit within the red curtains.
The following scene (which I suppose is suppose to be ominous) is of the menaces floating away from their home and travel to the park. The sounds in the distance quickly go from laughter to screams.
And… that’s it. A sort of tasting, which is fairly common in horror short films. The Captured Bird is good, but perhaps a bit forgettable when so many of them are excellent.
The visuals save most of the film, especially since there really isn’t much of a plot. Here, there really isn’t much to tantalise you to want to know more about what is going to happen. The best short films are the ones that leave you with a satisfying ending (whether that be open or closed).
The ending successfully managed to squash any imagination conjured up by the little girl and the large house. The 8 minutes didn’t really leave me incited, but rather a little disappointed.
Director Jovanka Vuckovic’s name should be familiar if you read Rue Morgue back in the 2000’s. She was Editor there for a better part of a decade before pursing her directing projects.
Most recently, Vuckovic has contributed her directing to the anthology film XX that premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival in January to quite a bit of enthusiasm. And there was actually plenty to love about The Captured Bird that makes it intriguing to see where Vuckovic goes next.