Essays · Movies

Dead Smoke Haunts a Woman in This Atmospheric Short Film

By  · Published on March 16th, 2015

It’s rare to see a short film these days that isn’t either wholly experimentally obtuse or so rigid that it scrambles to explain every little detail, so there’s a bit of joy in experiencing the raw atmosphere of Line Signal from John Panton and the Meat Bingo team.

It features a woman who regularly runs through a wooded area where bizarre things start to happen. She encounters a few unusual sights just as personal elements of her life are coming to a head and her communication to the outside world via cell phone is cut off.

First of all, it’s a beautiful film, boasting several sweeping shots of the countryside meant as much to disorient as to place us in the environment. If there’s a mascot for this film, it’s fog. Both visually and thematically. This is about as close as you can get to a story with zero exposition. What’s the big deal she’s trying to lock down? What’s wrong with her father? Why doesn’t she call her family? What really happened to the people who now haunt this clearing?

The questions linger in a delightful way, utilizing mystery as an ally in delivering an open-ended tale that feels complete without needing to seal the lid all that tightly. Bolstered by creepy imagery and a slow-motion sense of unease, and you have a ghostly short film that pulls the goosebumps right out of their hiding places.

Related Topics: ,

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.