A man becomes increasingly disturbed by the sounds of raindrops coming from the outside of his window until he eventually snaps. This is a Screen Critix review of Raindrops.
Prolific filmmaker and a regular contributor to Screen Critix, Philip Brocklehurst returns alongside his muse – the actor PM Thomas, and producing partner Solomon Bennett to give us an experimental and surreal horror short film called Raindrops.
Raindrops is a sequel of sorts to one of Brocklehurst’s earlier films Haunter, which was another short horror film we reviewed on this site a few months ago. Haunter was the story of a man who is awoken from his sleep by strange noises in the middle of the night and decides to venture downstairs to investigate. With it being filmed at the beginning of lockdown, Haunter managed to showcase Brocklehurst’s ability to successfully make the most out of his environment, creating entertainment using confined spaces, simple filming techniques, and the restrictions that he had to adhere to his advantage.
So, although Raindrops leans more toward the psychological aspects of the genre and uses a lot of the same themes, it can be seen as the reverse horror to Haunter, in the sense that this time our protagonist is wide awake when the strange noises occur and all of the bizarre things that happen to him take place during the cold light of day.
I ended that last review three months ago by saying I want to see more from Brocklehurst next time and that hasn’t been the case here. Raindrops, unfortunately, really isn’t as enjoyable as Haunter; it’s more of a sideways step for the director but it still manages to be interesting and retains some positives. The editing is short and sharp, each cut highlighting the increasing annoyance and delirium of the main character. However, the real star of the show is the impressive sound design by Vladislav Nogin which is excellent throughout. The different sound effects that are used for the separate types of dripping water we can hear are great choices. The longer the sound goes on the longer we find ourselves in the exact same boat as our protagonist, being driven slightly mad by the different tones and irritating splashes.
Actor PM Thomas, who is a very capable actor is surprisingly not quite as effective here as he has been in the other shorts I have seen him in. Some of the choices made to show frustration and anger needed to be toned down a little and the gurning needed to be far more controlled. Some of the expressions become unintentionally funny and take you out of the moment, but all that said I would also have to say that the director has to share some of the blame as it is they who should be guiding him and who should have just kept an eye on the movements whilst asking for more subtlety and nuance.
All in all, Raindrops shows yet another side to Brocklehurst’s directorial versatility. In his notes, he mentions that this is his version of a Kafka-esque nightmare and that is exactly what he gives us. Raindrops is full of anxiety, surrealism, and a sense of persecution, all these feelings Brocklehurst uses to shock the viewer and along with the random and somewhat melodramatic acts of violence that occur we are left with a number of memorable images. In a world where many short film directors seem to follow the same pattern and blueprint, Brocklehurst has no problem in taking his own route, and that is something to be admired.