Written and Directed by Lori Bowen
Described as a loving homage to the Italian zombie films of the 70’s and 80’s, Lori Bowen’s latest short film hits its mark perfectly.
STELLA BUIO tells the tale of a medium invited to a family’s home to help the grieving mother and indifferent adult siblings contact their recently deceased husband and father.
Of course, as you may suspect, things don’t go quite as planned.
What follows is a fifteen minute short film full of all the dynamics that make this one of the best horror shorts I’ve ever seen.
While the Italian nods are clear from beginning to end and done exceptionally well, I couldn’t help but also feel a very strong connection to the original CREEPSHOW during a few moments. That’s certainly not a bad thing!
There’s even a quick EVIL DEAD camera moment here!
Cult icon Linnea Quigley (as Stella Buio), Melanie Robel (as the daughter) and Chris Cline (as Philip, the father brought back from the dead) shine with their roles.
When things hit the fan and blood begins to spill, the madness overtaking the home is captured perfectly by Robel. Melanie seems right at home running through a darkly lit home while being pursued by a vengeful zombie.
Stella becomes one of my favorite creepy ladies in indie horror thanks to Quigley’s quirks and captivating charm. I am hard-pressed to think of someone who would have captured Stella’s essence as wonderfully as Quigley does.
Cline brings the goods as the reanimated father, providing some of the best kills in recent memory.
The family looking for answers is rounded out by Shawn McBee (Victor), Lance Flint (Frederick) and Laura D’Anieri (mother Greta). Bowen obviously did her homework putting this family together. The cast works together nicely and everyone in front of the camera deserves a round of applause for their work.
The film succeeds big time in the technical department. The original score (by Shawn Bowen) is a shining example of a soundtrack being just as nerve rattling as the film itself.
The use of color throughout the picture is impeccable. Lighting and color really add nice depth to the short. It gives you the warm and fuzzies of yesteryear’s classics. A fellow whom Bowen praises on a regular basis, known as Wheat, really aces the test as lighting designer and camera assistant.
Bowen’s talents as a director and writer truly take center stage with this project, but it’s her skills as an editor that really bring this film full circle.
Shot in two and a half days, Stella Buio represents everything indie horror should always be about. A solid story accompanied by wonderful practical effects (created masterfully by Greg Baker, Dean Blackwelder and Joannie Atkins of Divine Imagery) drives Stella over the top.
They don’t make them like this anymore, which is a true shame. The film festival circuit is fortunate to have a talent like Lori Bowen churning out fantastic films like this.
My Grade: 10/10
STELLA BUIO is preparing to make the film festival circuit run. Keep posted on all the places you could see Lori’s latest flick by checking out Kimyoo Film’s blog!