Reviewed by: JimmyO
J. William Foust
What's it about
A woman who had drowned keeps disappearing from her grave. It seems there may be something she left behind.
Is it good movie?
One of the best horror films that I have seen this year happens to be just under twenty minutes and was shot on a nothing budget. J. William Foust’s deeply moody piece Annabelle Leeds was based on work by Edgar Allan Poe and harkens back to a time when horror was drenched with style and atmosphere. Foust uses his talent for lighting and creating a dark yet strangely beautiful world. This is a place where the dead may come back to life, not for the purpose of “BRAINS”, but something much more substantial. There are no simple answers here; part gothic love story and part zombie flick, this short has what many other horror features do not have… and that is heart. Much is put into this work, whether it be the fluid camerawork or the haunting music by Bridge Riddell and Elizabeth Emhoff. There is something very creepy here and truly worth a look.
Annabelle Leeds, played by Emily Patton, drowned two weeks ago yet her body just won’t stay buried. Her family and friends are suffering from what seems to be a disturbing case of grave robbing. But we all know there is something more curious going on. We first see her tombstone and are then introduced to those mourning her death. Yes, we know they are connected to her but Foust leaves the how and why up to us. He gives us very little exposition or explanation, not letting us in on the joke. But that is one of Annabelle’s many charms; I actually cared enough to try and understand what I had seen. It is not a complicated matter but it certainly will not give us the why. And yes, I dug that. A film like that is almost a guaranteed second watch. And possibly a third and fourth.
Although it is not a perfect film it certainly is a beautiful one that comes damn close. There is very little not to like. From the first act when the mourners gather to question why anyone would dig up poor Annabelle to the second when we realize some bad mojo is coming down; the viewer is in for a treat. In the final moments when Phil Coulon is alone and the sound of a woman screaming startles him, the lighting speaks volumes. I dug the use of lighting, especially the Halloween moment when the shadow of Mr. Coulon's night visitor crosses behind him. This is damn good stuff and worth your time. If you like moody horror that keeps you in the dark, then this is for you.
NOTE: This DVD is available through Director J. William Foust's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/jwfoust.
Video / Audio
The extras here are very good for a nineteen minute short film. The first of which is another short film by Foust called Deep (8:41). This is the story of a couple, played by Angela Fillmore and Joe Wulker who have traveled deep in the woods to bury something from their past. This is similar to the “feature” in style and mood and refuses to give too much away. Good stuff.
Next comes the Trailer (:45) which represents the short well. But much like the style of the film, the trailer is very short but still very effective.
It’s amazing that this little independent flick can make Production Photography (5:54) interesting when most major DVD’s are just click to the next pic. This is a beautifully arranged group of photographs with music and it is a nice way to look at the behind the scene photography.
And finally, we get two Commentaries. The first from director J. William Foust is a very passionate look into what went into the making of this film. I really enjoyed hearing about his love for Halloween and how he is “not much of a speaker”. Don’t worry buddy, you did fine.
And the final commentary is with the Emily Patton who plays Annabelle, Phil Coulon who plays her tortured boyfriend and Foust is back to hang and talk about the movie. He mentions in both commentaries how is snowed and that was not planned, but frankly, that made the movie that much creepier. I like these guys and they should be proud of their work. Good job.
In what happens to be one of the best horror offerings I’ve seen this year, J. William Foust creates a moody and nightmarish piece. The music, the lighting and the location all make for a creepy little film that may have you looking over your shoulder in the dark of the night. Ms. Leeds is a perfect addition to your horror collection. Seriously, somebody give this guy a couple of million and let him make a feature!