If you had a secret you were desperate to keep, just how far would you go to keep it from the one you love?
In this digital age, we can all be anonymous, well, unless you’re in China. It doesn’t take much to buy a cheap phone, sim card and begin sending messages.
That’s exactly what happens to James, David Chin (The Package (Short), The Promotion (Short)). A mysterious number claims to know all about his dirty little secret and threatens to reveal all.
His wife, Danni Ai (The Package (Short)), wakes up to find him gone, at 6am on a Saturday. James has been summoned by this mysterious number to finally pay his debts.
In snowy conditions, he travels to an industrial estate and is told to pay up; cash, wallet, keys, gloves. He’s then left alone as the anonymous person takes it all from him.
As he is heading back he receives a message from his wife that she didn’t expect him back so soon. He realises the blackmailer has headed there and he races home to find it empty, everything, including his wife, gone.
Writer and co-director Stephen Herman (The Package (Short), The Promotion (Short)), the film was co-directed by Chin, has made an intriguing short film.
There are no words spoken, we see some on-screen graphics of text messages, but otherwise everything is conveyed by what we see on-screen.
It works well and you are intrigued as the film plays out. Both Herman and Chin handle directing duties very well, it’s nicely handled.
There are a couple of continuity issues (keep an eye on Chin’s gloves) and, despite the film being an almost silent one, there’s a lot of background noise, though these are small things and often to be expected when people are working with small budgets.
Message Received is a fascinating short film that shows promise for both Herman and Chin alike.