written and directed by: Karen Lam
There aren’t a whole lot of themes in film I love more than a good old fashioned revenge story. Karen Lam delivers one hell of wallop in her world-wide acclaimed short, ‘Doll Parts’ and does so in a way that is both unsettling and beautiful.
When we first meet Edward (aced by veteran actor David Lewis), we get the sense we’re watching a distant relative of the Cleaver family on his way home from a taxing day at the office. Turns out Edward is a cold blooded psychotic.
Lewis brings the uneasy craziness right to the forefront with his portrayal of the man we soon find out is a serial killer.
Edward is cruising along a desolate road when he comes across a female hitchhiker who is everything he looks for in a victim- she’s a living, breathing woman. After having a fairly quiet day of work thus far, Edwards unleashes swift violence upon the helpless hitchhiker named Evangelina (a role Sarah Lind absolutely excels with). But things aren’t exactly as they seem.
This beautiful hitchhiker isn’t just another notch on Edward’s belt. The film leaves some mystery behind the female lead- she isn’t simply a vengeful victim dishing out justice to the perverted serial killer that picked her up. Is she a shape, per say, roaming the winding roads to avenge those who have fallen at the hands of disgusting men like Edward? The ambiguity in the film is something I rather enjoyed and it left me thinking about the film for quite some time after viewing it, which is never a bad comment for a director regarding one of their films.
The acting by Lewis and Lind is superb- Lewis doesn’t overdo it as the psycho, but he makes it clear he’s teetering a very dangerous fine line. However, he’s able to keep things within arm’s length to almost make us feel a twinge of sympathy once Evangelina wreaks her havoc.
Lind plays the vulnerable hitchhiker as if it’s second nature, but then pulls back the facade and becomes a true nightmare in a role reversal that seems to come effortlessly for Lind.
Special effects artist Win Liu did a fantastic job making Evangelina into something truly creepy, a word that doesn’t hold nearly the weight it deserves to hold in horror these days. (‘Creepy’ is good!)
The beauty of this film is captured masterfully by cinematographer Harvey Larocque. The picture has a very vivid quality about it with a phenomenal color spectrum.
The film has been shown in 23 film festivals to date, picking up awards in a number of fields at several locations, including ‘Wicked Revenge Scene’ at the 2012 Stiletto Film Festival, ‘Best Horror Short’ at the Midnight Black International Festival of Darkness 2011, and ‘Best Director’ at the HorrorQuest Film Festival 2011.
Karen Lam is a true genius behind the camera and as a writer. It’s films like these that make independent horror what it is today, and these are the types of films I suggest to people who wonder aloud if there are any good females working in the horror genre these days.
‘Doll Parts’ is one of my favorite shorts I’ve seen and trust me, I keep my eyes peeled on a daily basis for Facebook updates regarding Karen’s future projects!
I’ve had the privilege of chatting with Karen and I am proud to announce her interview will be posted tomorrow right here on the blog.
MY GRADE: 10/10
For more info on ‘Doll Parts’ and the awesome number of laurels and fests it’s been rockin’ at, check out this link: