Writer and director Marcus McMahon (“Somnus”, “Kill Mode (Short)”) sent us his latest short film A Helical, in which he also plays the titular character.
I get that sci-fi, as a genre, isn’t all spaceships, lasers and little green men with big, pointy ears. There’s another side to sci-fi, one that arguably came first, in which the movies were ‘out there’ (excuse the pun), on the odd scale things were ratcheted up to 11.
A Helical is definitely in this latter camp. The opening is full CGI, though CGI from the eighties, maybe early nineties. It reminded me of the BBC version of “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” whilst the music is akin to “Blade Runner” though not quite as dramatic.
From here McMahon takes us to one of the best shots I think I’ve seen in a short film as we swoop down over some odd structure to reveal the man himself, McMahon, A Helical, wearing a polar neck jumper, suit and carrying a briefcase.
A Helical begins walking and McMahon, together with cinematographers Alistair Gillan (“White Base (Short)”) and Michal Wisniowksi (“The Wasting”, “Odium (Short)”), show off the locations of The Courtyard Theatre, Crystal Palace Park, Farmoor Reservoir and Bentwater Parks beautifully.
All three certainly have an eye for turning locations into stunning shots, artistic and/or interesting, every outside shot in A Helical is a joy.
It’s a shame than that there wasn’t a story to go alongside these stunning vistas. A Helical is very much in the ‘experimental’ camp and, therefore, will not be for anyone, and by that, I mean it won’t be for the masses.
A Helical, during his walk, encounters The Great Head, Keith Chanter (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald”, “My Feral Heart”). The Great Head is just that. A giant head, the type you would see on an ancient Greek statue, only this one is floating in the air and its eyes flash when it speaks.
A Helical also meets an old woman in a house, Sanna Kelly (“Earl Grey (Short)”, “The British Superman (Short)”), who is called Mother. Both of these encounters are deliberately slow and the conversations are bizarre.
From here he meets four men in leather jackets who are driving a Dodge Charger R/T (a right-hand drive Dodge Charger R/T no-less, I’d love to know where they found that!). He ends up walking through a portal with them, arguing with them, though they say nothing back, before walking off into some starfield sunset type thing.
Like I said, it’s all very strange, but it looks fantastic. I suspect A Helical reveals more the more you times you watch it, perhaps even revealing the reference to a helix, if there is one in there?