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Film Review: Familiar (short film) (2012)


Through a series of tragic events, a middle aged man grows to suspect the negative impulses plaguing his mind may not be his own.


Written and Directed by Richard Powell, Familiar (2012) is one of the few short films I’ve seen this year that matches any professional production on the market.

John Dodd, narrates his thoughts thru out this tale about life and unrealized dreams. Dodd, facing middle age has grown too comfortable with his mundane existence. In fact you might say it’s quite boring and repetitive leaving his only release to his imagination and thoughts about breaking free.

His wife announces that she’s pregnant which only further elongates his hell, or so it seems. Dodd is like many who have reached a point where nothing phases them, and life is just one long day. His daughter is reaching an age where he had hoped to gain some freedom, and maybe even leave his wife behind in the process. Though this sudden realization of starting it over again ignites something darker within him.

A voice that echoes thru his mind gets louder and more determined. It influences him into taking action….one that will ease his suffering. Though as this 24 minute short eases its way into a finale, it begins to take on a stance that you would expect from Cronenberg’s wild imaginative organics. Dodd is not alone. His dark psyche “actually” has a voice and a bug-like organism to boot. Where this parasitic evil originated from is not the question, but rather how it is connected with Dodd to begin with.

A clever piece with some really impressive practical effects. “Familiar” is a showcase piece by far. You could almost expect it to elaborate into a feature length movie but manages to stay tighter in its shorter time frame. Actor Robert Nolan as Dodd, is perfect for the role from subtle into panicked states as he deals with his own personal demon. One that grows from within.

Familiar” sets its ground in horror but also pays tribute to past films like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. What works most of all, is that we sense a dark future ahead without truly knowing what it will be. My first thoughts would assume some kind of “man goes berserk and kills the family”…but “Familiar” tackles a more interesting turn and leaves us on a much more satisfied note.
A great piece that echoes brilliance.

Familiar (short film) (2012)

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