What Jack Built (2015)

This short film produced by 8mm Films and directed by Matthew Mahler is one very different to any I’ve seen before. I always find it so interesting how a film can still be watchable with only one character, but this film does it and I find it very clever. It works well. The main character, Jack, is played Timothy J. Cox, and is played well. This character is slightly crazed by whatever is in the woods, he spends his time running round his workshop creating whatever it is he is building.

The plot is very intriguing for the audience. They are unaware of what is really happening and this is what makes it watchable for the audience. The film itself does only last eleven minutes, but that’s all that is needed, it is perfectly timed. The music is very important in this short film and you can tell it is, especially in how it is creating the mood and genre of the film. I found that the music is very piercing for the audience, however I think this was needed and generated more of a thrill to the short film. The camera was also very clever, I loved when it went blurry to create a sense of emergency and urgency that the character was feeling. There was a repeated use of smoke covering the camera from the character smoking, this blurred the camera occasionally and gave a different effect, perhaps into the character’s mind.

What Jack Built - smoke and camera

I would recommend watching this if you want to be drawn into a thrilling confusion of what you are witnessing. The music and camera distorts the audience in ways they don’t expect as they gradually become to realise what Jack is doing. The ending is great and leaves the audience wondering what will happen which is truly an intriguing ending for a short film. So what did Jack build? You’ll have to watch…


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