Indie Flix: The 28th Day: Liz Lucky and the Amulet of Zasulground [Short](2012)

I always dislike generic titles.  INSIDIOUS, HUNGER, THIRST, they annoy me.  A greater sin though is over specificity.  METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN comes to mind.  Who or what is Jared-Syn?  A late 80’s flick comes to mind.  ERIC’S REVENGE.  Who is Eric and what happened to him?  They remedied this by retitling it PHANTOM OF THE MALL:ERIC’s REVENGE.  That works better.  This horror short is 8-Track Productions’ THE 28TH DAY: LIZ LUCKY AND THE AMULET OF ZASULGROUND.  What is the 28th day? Who is Liz Lucky? What is the significance of Zasulground’s amulet? Who is Zasulground? Titles that leave me asking four questions are troublesome.  Film shorts that answer only one of those questions is more bothersome.  

“Legend has it that in the year 2900 B.C., Lord Zasulground led a cult of men that performed cruel acts on women.  They cut out pieces of women’s body: the clitoris, larynx, sphincter for use as decoration of Zasulground’s head dress.  He proclaimed that those parts of the female anatomy would make him more powerful than ever before.”  Wow. There’s a lot there.  This is followed by other misspellings and unfortunate choices of grammar.  Jersalem (Jerusalem) and Briton is a person, Brittania was a place…anyway… Quasi-historical exposition dumps should be better composed.  If you are going to put it into print on a film make sure to spell/grammar check it.

This massive Lucasian-like slow scrolling exposition dump tells the unfortunately named Zasulground was a bad man.  He was booted all the way west to “The America’s”.   Apostrophes are not always your friend, they can be devilish bastards.  The viewer is then treated to a three plus minute tirade on why dirt shouldn’t be called dirt and deserves respect.  I guess it was a witty fill, I’m not sure.  It ate up more than a third of the running time and along with the intro gets you half way through the short.  Liz finds the titular five thousand year old amulet an two inches underground…even if I wasn’t trained as an archaeologist I would have a clue that something five millennia old would be below the area of earth regularly churned by earthworms and insects.  

Before our heroine has unearthed this artifact a Sam Raimi-like unseen force stalks the other students and instructor in fast moving tracking shots.  They are caught unaware.  They look for the source of sound but do not find it until they are attacked.  Liz sees it coming and runs.  The rest of the short is Liz beating up her now possessed instructor and fellow students.

As an exercise in filmmaking I am sure the half a dozen or so involved gained some invaluable experience.  Though the acting was bad it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen.  The make-up effects work well.  The CGI is amateurish but works for the short.  One of the real problems is that it seems to have a lot of unintentionally really campy things.  It doesn’t quite play things straight but it is also woefully unaware.  A horror comedy has to go one of two ways, over the top or subtle.   It may work better if it chose either intentional camp or played it all straight as it is the confusion doesn’t help.  

With all the above said I think the work, though not very good, shows promise as an early career project.   Zack Scott is a self taught indie filmmaker.  Without any formal training he has managed to put something together that is better than some film school projects that I’ve had the displeasure to see.  With an improvement in writing, or even branching out and working with other writers, Scott may put a really good short film together.  His editing work is passable, the camera work isn’t bad–he has a better concept of shooting eye-lines than some established filmmakers.  I’d check out the next Zack Scott Experience.  

You can see this one here!

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