Its 11:25 pm
Short films are a interesting medium. They can be used in so many ways,as a teaching tool,an audition,self contained stand alone stories and maybe the most conceptual way a short film is used – as a template for a featured length film or TV series.
Director Heather Aspinall has done the latter with her short film “Trapped Magic”. As a stand alone short,this would have been in trouble,as incomplete story telling and rough editing are evident throughout but as a prequel or teaser,I enjoyed “Trapped Magic” and especially the creative story that Aspinall wants to share with us.
The story opens with the quick origin of a elderly woman named Sallianne who lives in a English village called Dunstable. She helps her fellow citizens with potions and remedies and is also told people’s fortunes. But in this era of fear doing such things earned many women the title of “Witch” and as Sallianne finds out,that name equals a death sentence.
But before she dies,she puts a curse on the people of Dunstable for her unjustly murder…she comes back as a vengeful ghost until she is overcome and put into a bottle…
Its now present and we see a young man named Jack (Callum Wernyj) has serious problems. His father has died but his debts have passed on to Jack. A pair of thugs are putting the squeeze on him and he is also starting to hear a voice both as he sleeps and when he awakes. Not only is the voice calling out,its calling out for Jack by name.
When Jack digs up a bottle and opens it,out pops (a much younger) Sallianne (Clare Pulpher),his life as he knows it is over……
While I know that “Trapped Magic: The Broken Blade” will flesh out the characters,I have to say this…Callum Wernyj is a perfect Jack. He is young,very unsure of himself,scared because of the debt he has to pay despite it not being his and you can see all of this on both Callum’s face and body. Far too often in films like this,the hero is dashing,handsome and has a best friend to help out,Jack has none of that and I found Aspinall’s writing rather refreshing in dropping the whole load on Jack’s head,he is going to have to grow up rather fast.
While Clare Pulpher is quite lovely as Sallianne,there was just one huge plot hole that will have to be addressed,her age. In the voiceover,Sallianne is a elderly woman but when she is unleashed,she is very young and that makes no sense. But with a run time of 15 minutes,a LOT of story is crammed in and in retrospect,maybe just a shade too much.
But Aspinall as a director is learning and she already has shown she can create and cast well. I’m sure “The Broken Blade” will be much smoother and answer a lot of questions this short film lays out.
We recommend “Trapped Magic” both as a short film and the start of Heather Aspinall’s career as a film director. Its always exciting to luck into seeing a new talented voice rise up and we think that Heather,Callum and Clare will speak quite loudly soon enough.