The Game of the Clock is a short horror film from director Michele Olivieri and co-written by Ian Reid. The set up for the film takes place outside of the flat of one of Alice’s (Simone Mumford) friends where she thinks her friend has forgotten that they had arranged a movie night. Going inside, she is met by an old-fashioned alarm clock and a note that tells her a game is about to start and asking whether she can endure five minutes. From that point onwards, the tension ramps up fairly quickly and as Alice looks around to find signs of her friend, she soon realises that the game is very real and that she’s being stalked by a monster who is about to take her eyes.
In such an incredibly short space of time, Olivieri creates a tension that most horror movies would take a very long time to achieve – even if they ever managed it at all. The concept for the film isn’t all that original as survival horror is something that is often seen in cinema these days, but as a slice of dramatic tension then Olivieri shows that she knows exactly how to make an audience feel terrified. By using lighting, ominous music and camera angles that heighten Alice’s paranoia, Olivieri’s direction gives an eerie sense that Alice is being watched as the film plays out in real time. Thankfully, Olivieri also knows that the best monsters are the ones that hide in the dark and are rarely seen, so the nature of the monster and its full form is never revealed, making the audience’s imaginations get the better of them as the film builds to its final twist.
Throughout the film, Olivieri manages to create an atmosphere that may not seem all the unusual for a horror movie, but the time it takes for Alice to go from mild indifference to sheer panic makes the audience lean forward in their seats as they want to know more. You could watch three lengthy trailers for big budget horror films in the time that it takes to watch The Game of the Clock, in which you may have already worked out what happens in all them. However, unlike most trailers these days, The Game of the Clock gives very little away and only leaves the audience wondering what the feature length version could be like.
Short, Horror | 8 mins | Italy, 2019 | Godiva Films | Dir.Michele Olivieri | Simone Mumford