A mentally unstable man commits an atrocious act of violence towards a family and then tries to justify his motives. This is the Screen Critix review of Philip Brocklehurst’s latest short Film I’m God.
As I mentioned in my last review of one of his films Raindrops, writer-director Philip Brocklehurst is a very prolific filmmaker. He manages to use the basic tools at his disposal to create interesting and enjoyable shorts that are of differing lengths and many diverse genres. If his project is not a completely different genre, then it is certainly a different aspect of that genre and one that he has not usually examined before.
I’m God is a completely new direction for Brocklehurst and, although it is not a total success, it shows yet again that Brocklehurst loves what he is doing and is, in fact, a very versatile artist. I’m God is certainly Brocklehurst’s darkest film to date, while at the same time also being his most violent film to date and by some distance too.
By the light of a lamppost and to the notes of an ominous soundtrack a man in a dark trench coat, hat, and gloves approaches a house and glowers menacingly in front of its brown picket fence. Taking his time and plotting his steps carefully, he slowly enters this family home. It’s an opening that is reminiscent of the famous slashers Halloween and Friday 13th with our villain carefully stalking his prey. On entering the property, we are left looking at the downstairs window of the house, while using a voiceover and some sound effects we hear him commit a crime of such brutal violence that we are left dumbfounded, unable to fully understand what we have just witnessed this man do. We are also left in a little bit of shock in the real world as well because quite simply Brocklehurst has never visited these dark places in his work before.
We learn immediately that the home belonged to a Dr and his family, however, the full details of why this crime has been committed are not found out until later in the short. After the murder, we cut to the perpetrator cleaning himself up in the bathroom and then lying on his back in his victim’s bedroom. It is here that using more voiceover we hear the killer’s thoughts, feelings, and learn more about his story. We listen to his coarse language, simple thoughts, and evil feelings as he philosophizes with himself trying to justify the horrific acts he has just committed
As the short progresses we are left in no doubt that the murderer is a mentally unstable man with a messiah complex; he believes himself to be God and, in doing so, sees himself as more than human. He has appointed himself as a judge, juror, and executioner and, by putting two and two together we begin to realise that this man was a patient from a high-security mental hospital and the Dr he has just killed was his psychologist.
Using mainly natural lighting techniques, Brocklehurst manages to convey the mean and moody themes of his short. Because he uses natural light, the film is very dark in both subject matter and look, it is so dark in fact that at times we are unable to see all of our villain’s face in close-ups. What may be an accidental effect due to budget and time constraints manages to create an atmosphere that leaves us feeling both cold and a little creepy, while Yury Andreev’s unsettling score only increases those feelings. Meanwhile, the effects by Alex Wesley are nice and gory but by using some clever and brief edits we never catch a long enough glimpse at the horror for it to truly linger.
All in all, I’m God is a successful journey into the mind of a deranged killer and Brocklehurst again impresses with his ability to make the seemingly mundane very surprising.