Helen (2017) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

A woman working her way up the corporate ladder gets a great opportunity. As she prepares to make a big presentation, demons both external and internal show up to mess with her.

Written and directed by Emily Dell, the film explores inner and outer demons and how they can affect a young woman trying to get ahead in her career. This is done with a lot of scenes where the lead is on her own, working and practicing her presentation. The film is a decent character study, but it does feel a bit long and meandering in how it finally gets to where it needs to go. The horror of the story takes a bit to show up with a few good sequences that bring the dread and creep factor, but those are few and far in-between. The final showdown is expected and not as effective or satisfying as hoped for.

Playing the title character is Aimee Garcia. She does a good job, acting with talent and restraint when needed. She does seem a bit lost at times, but this may be due to the film’s script or direction, it’s hard to define where the lost feeling comes from, but it’s there and it keeps coming back. In some scenes, the way she is lost makes sense, in others, not so much. The rest of the cast does decent work, nothing stands out particularly.

The make-up on the evil being looks decent, with work by Jane Powers and Violet Vang bringing it to life, but again, not particularly spectacular or particularly original. It’s serviceable but lacks that little extra something that would have made it truly great. The film does use this being to a fun, spooky-ish effect, just not in a way that is really scary or effective.

Helen is one of those short films that straddles the mid-level of everything: scares, effects, acting, and effectiveness. It has interesting ideas and scenes but it doesn’t lead to anything all that exciting or satisfying. It’s decent, but not great. It’s a bit entertaining, but not excitedly so. It’s middle of the road across the board unfortunately.