Dan lets women stay in his guest bedroom only to eventually get them to have sex with him in front of a camera. And ultimately killing them in front of said camera. One day he gets a mysterious guest, a young woman dressed in red. And there is something about her that makes him feel uncomfortable.
When Maude Michaud contacted me and told me she produced the short film "Toutes les jeunes filles sont en fleur" that I reviewed a while back, I was instantly intrigued. That was a short film that did things slightly different, slightly more poetic than most erotic shorts I've stumbled upon. At the same time, it didn't come off purely as pretentiousness, which is fantastic. So I knew I had to see what the producer could achieve in the director position - would it offer the same kind of thing or would it be trash? Turns out it shares a few things, but in the end a lot more horror-oriented.
"Red" is taking a snuff-esque plotline (I say -esque because it's so hard to say what's snuff and what isn't, and I don't think this officially is) and adds a little bit of a creature horror to it. Exactly what kind of creature, or horror monster, I will let remain unsaid. It's also not that important, because to me the film is more interesting up until that point. Our lead man is obsessed with killing girls in front of the camera, and later watch the tapes of said kills. These are girls that are staying in his guest room. One day, a girl with a red umbrella and dressed in red knocks on his door, looking for a room. He sees another chance to get his kicks, but it turns out that this girl has an interest in film as well, and she almost seems aware of his dirty business.
It's not erotica, but at the same time there are some sexy scenes that are handled very delicately so we're not too far off. But before it gets down to business, it reminds us that we're watching a horror short, and not erotica. I think the story is quite interesting. It's very mysterious and we never really know who this girl is, why she's there and what she knows. We do find out WHAT she is, but that seemed more like an effective way to end the short film, rather than an unavoidable plot move.
Frankly, I thought the ending bit could've been handled differently. Maybe just a different angle (from the camera that was filming them, maybe?) would've been good enough? A lot of short films seem to end this way, and I know I have reviewed at least two short films with similar endings in the last few months (one very recently). When it comes to short films I am also a lot more forgiving, especially when it's a short film that is actually good. It's okay for them to have a lacking ending at times.
"Red" could've been a lot better had this been done differently, sure, but I still think it's a very well-crafted short. Everything up until the finale is great and draws you in. The lead girl is likable, even though you have no idea who she is. It's just a fun take on the snuff-related genre. The disc that Maude Michaud sent me also contained a short called "Snuff", which actually had some creepy elements to it - and it was shot on Super 8! Obviously Maude Michaud is a woman with some dark ideas to put on film, and I hope to see more of her stuff in the future!