Open Up – By JD GonzalesShort Film Review

Open Up is a story about a young woman, mentally upset by the loss of a loved one in her life. The name of the character is Adaline. The main story revolves around the idea that due to the precious loss of Adaline’s love interest, her mind’s irrationality is overtaking her amidst the quarantine, under the influence of all her psychological stress. She begins to imagine strange, horrifying shadows all around her. 

Director JD Gonzales approaches the horror, drama, crime and psychological thriller genre with strategy and intentionality, which brings this story to life. The filmmaker has done an incredibly effective job in describing the themes of this movie visually. The suspense grows steadily throughout the film. The idea of the loss of a loved one turning your whole life upside down is frightening to begin with, and this film takes it to a whole new level.

When it comes to the cinematographic experience, the visual journey  is wonderful. The suspense and psychological thrills work hand-in-hand with the use of the camera in this short. That and the minimal, unique usage of simplicity: an apartment and a girl to convey the whole meaningful message. All this has been done to create this amazing cinematic experience. 

The film’s use of darkness and generally-shadowy lighting was brilliantly effective. The way this film plays with shadow to create feeling is wonderful.

The sound adds on to the cinematography to further build the suspense across these 17 minutes. The two work seemingly effortlessly to successfully keep you on the edge of your seat.

The overall pacing of this short is another thing that needs commending. Gonzales paces the editing to build with the tempo of the story, which gave everything a very structured, mastered feeling across the whole film.

The faster cuts later in the film give it tension that really work towards the horror in the story. This style along with the carefully calibrated shots have revealed the genres in the best ways possible.

Actress Jessica Higgins brings the role of “Adline” to life across the film, and she is certainly the soul of the film. Without her incredibly performance, the horror never would have landed as effectively. She was able to bring the film to a full-circle and allow this piece to work its magic.

All-in-all, the film was a pleasure to experience. The team that brought this story to life was intentional about how they went about it, and it certainly show. Open Up is an excellent take on the psychological horror genre.

We very much look forward to seeing where JD Gonzales goes next!



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