The Game of the Clock (2019) | Directed by Michele Olivieri
UK | Colour | 8 Minutes
Written by Michele Olivieri, Ian Reid | Starring Simone Mumford
For the most part, The Game of the Clock had me intrigued. Michele Olivieri’s short film begins well and in typical horror fashion. A beautiful girl visiting her friend finds she’s not answering the door, so she enters her home, quickly realising that she’s missing and that there are some sinister, supernatural shenanigans going on.
Once on the premises, she’s faced with a ringing alarm clock and a series of unnerving notes left asking her if she can endure the next five minutes; along with other handwritten and hand-drawn riddles.
So far so good. The acting by Simone Mumford is authentic, the atmosphere and sound design on point, and having the entire film based in one apartment only adds to its claustrophobic feel.
Granted, there’s only so much you can fit into just under eight minutes, so I applaud the film for managing to even get a glimpse of character development. You’re initially drawn to the character and follow her from her point of view, wanting her to be ok.
Unfortunately, like so many other current features and short films, the climax fell slightly flat for me. With a minute or so to go in its short running time, I predicted what the final act would be like, as I’ve seen it done so many times previously. This isn’t a dig at the film, the production team, or the director, as everything else is done ever so well.
Just, for me personally, a more unorthodox ending – with the less is more treatment – that stepped outside of the box may have been a better decision for the ending. All in all, The Game of the Clock isn’t a bad little short film.