Set in Ireland, a family moves to a new city neighborhood, taking residence in a large, old house that is rumored to have a dodgy past. Their young daughter Katie is caught in a power outage while the parents are out to dinner, and her father insists that she go down to the basement to fix the fuse. When they’d first moved in, Katie had a panic attack in the basement, brought on by stories that the devil once appeared down there. But with her father’s help, she slowly descends the ten steps to the bottom, each step into darkness inducing more and more terror, building up the suspense in a most simple, yet THE most effective way
More short films, kiddies! Today we have a tale of suspense from Ireland called THE TEN STEPS, written and directed by Brendan Muldowney.
Katie (Jill Harding) is not a happy girl at all. Not only has she been forced to move to some backwater town, living in a creepy old house, but she’s also stuck babysitting her less-than cooperative little brother Steven (William Sullivan).
See, the reason her family moved is because her dad (Gerard Lee) has a line on a new job that would put them in the town permanently, if all goes well. So while he and Katie’s mom (Paula Lee) are having a dinner meeting with the potential employer, Katie is stuck in the creepy house with her brother and watching TV.
Katie really hates this house. It’s in a boring podunk town. TV reception is rubbish. And then there’s the matter of the panic attack she had in the basement on day one. Well, in her defense..it’s a dark creepy basement. It’s how this works.
Unfortunately for Katie, the power goes out. Wanna geuss where the fuse box is?
I really enjoyed this film. Less horror than suspense, it takes you through the story on pins and needles. All the actors are quite good, especially Ms. Harding. She carries the story and her character well. She was quite young at the time, but showed a lot of promise.
I say this because this film actually came out in 2004 (American release, 2005) so not sure why I’m only just seeing it. Since that time, Ms. Harding has appeared in other projects, notably the series VIKINGS.
Also since that time, Mr. Muldowney has actually remade this short as a new short (called simply TEN STEPS) which is a variation of the same tale.
But there is nothing particularly dated about the film itself. It exists in its own space. If I hadn’t looked it up, I would not have known the film was 15 years old. I really enjoyed it, and I think pretty much everybody can find a reason to like it, too.
Oh, and BTW, only because I love self-reference in a film, the show Katie is watching on tv is actually clips from a film called CHURCH OF ACCEPTANCE, made by Mr. Muldowney the year previous to this film.
So using my special short scale of one to five, five being awesome, I’m giving this film 4 steps.