- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Transmutation

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Short / Experimental / Thriller

Language: N/A

Runtime: 8 min

Director: Emil Terziev

Writer: Kyle Killam


In a secluded cabin in the snowy forest, a woman is enjoying her morning with some coffee to warm herself up. Suddenly she hears a loud rattling noise from outside and goes out to check what it is...

Our thoughts:
Another little visit to the Viewster Online Film Festival website led me to a quite intense film that seems like a mix of horror movies and performance art, which works really well in the short film format. I wasn't entirely sure if I had enough to say for a review about it, but in the end I enjoyed it enough that telling people about it alone was worth it.

"Transmutation" is quick to unnerv as it contrasts the silent opening with loud noises. A woman is enjoying her coffee in a cabin while snow is spread across the woods outside. She goes to investigate and follows the further noises, until she turns around only to see a white-painted man standing behind her. The man performs a ritual and by the sound of a horn a transmutation starts (which you'd expect from the title, of course).

There are many reasons to appreciate the black and white photography of "Transmutation", but personally I have always loved winter scenery shown in black and white, as it strengthens the whiteness of the snow while it also brings forth whatever is shown out of the snow. Not to mention that if you know me, by now you'll also be aware that I'm a sucker for black and white nude photography, and "Transmutation" is not without its moments of nude art. While the intention probably wasn't to make nude art, there's an undeniable eroticism in the transmutation which takes place.

Because the movie makes great use of both silence and loud noises, there's something rather powerful going on in its audio as well as visuals. The two enhance each other, where - like the black and white winter photography - the sound is of strong contrast as well. I think it makes the short film a very intense and eerie short. It's a film which should be enjoyed with good sound on a big screen, since that'll definitely bring forth everything it has to show. I wouldn't dissect the movie further and take it as a artsy mood-trip. Check it out at the Viewster Online Film Festival until September 25th 2014.

Positive things:
- Great photography, using the black and white to its advantage.
- Felt like a mix of horror and performance art.
- Powerful use of sound.

Negative things:
- Doesn't give you much to go on if you want to dissect it.

Gore: 1/5
Nudity: 4/5
Story: 2.5/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 0.5/5

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