A female SWAT agent has a premonition about the end of days before participating in a series of missions that point to her dream becoming reality in the short film No Stars Anymore.
Blasting onto the screen with a series of news reports showing riots, fighting in the streets, and other scary situations, No Stars Anymore gets off to a good start. We are in Poland (the film uses the English language) and a female SWAT officer wakes from a bad dream. A very bad dream. She is then called to work where she, along with her team, come across some disturbing events.
First, they find a fire burning in a field beside an effigy of a bull’s skull on top of a wooden body draped in black. Then the team is called to do some searches by their Head Quarters, all of which turn out to be a waste of time. That is until they do a third and final search.
Now, it is not uncommon to be told that a film that we are due to watch and review was made by (for the most part) on man/woman. There have been plenty of times where we have reviewed films to find that the filmmaker not only doubled up on duties behind the camera, but in some cases, they did basically everything. Normally this can be very detrimental to the quality of the production, after all, juggling jobs will certainly be damaging to some aspect of the film, albeit with the lensing, the audio, and even the direction.
No Stars Anymore was made by Lukasz Rog, and as hinted above, he did everything here. Just looking down the credits, it’s crazy to think how he managed to do it all. He is listed as the director, the cinematographer, the editor, the screenwriter, the producer. Hell, he was probably in charge of catering too. This is the point where I’d normally state that, whilst commendable, doing everything is a big no-no. Yet here, I can only applaud, as Rog has done a remarkable job.
No, No Stars Anymore is not a perfect Horror/Sci-Fi short film, but it has far more positives going for it than negatives, and it is far more stylish and gripping than most shorts we have seen in that genre.
With some great usages of drones and an ever-moving camera, Rog has instilled style into the short. It sometimes feels like a lot of money has gone into the production; they even use a helicopter at one point?!? Then you are reminded that the budget was likely minimal and just a lot of care and attention had gone into creating it.
Of course, as I stated above, usually when making a short film there will be some mistakes made along the way. The audio for the dialogue isn’t the best, some editing of scenes was overly done with a myriad of shots. We even see Rog’s reflection in a mirror at one point (split second) as he follows the lead actress down the stairs of her home, and the scenes showing the first two SWAT searches are overly long with no real pay-off for them too. Yet, all of this can be forgiven, as I was really invested in what I was actually watching.
Reminding me of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, Rog uses some really great (and loud) score throughout. In some parts, there is no room tone, no dialogue, no atmosphere, just a loud vibrating score to go along with the visuals, and it works really well.
I’d love to see this be turned into a 90-minute film, and, if Rog was given a budget and a crew to create it, I’d buy a ticket on the first day of its release. No Stars Anymore is a stylish Sci-fi short that looks great, has a killer score, and an excellent and gripping final ten minutes.