We have already been accustomed to understanding the depths of the human soul both as a sensitive nucleus that captures the most burning dreams and desires of the individuals, and as a place where their most terrifying fears come together. Even if it falls into the category of horror genre, the short film ‘Chain‘ is, in fact, the nightmarish depiction of a captive person in the labyrinth of their own imagination. In other words, the horror character of this project comes from the talent with which the director explores, somewhat surrealistically, the human loneliness that gives birth to monsters. Halfway between psychosis, narcotic hallucination, and fantastic universe, this project is conceived as a circular cage in which the character walks through infinite corridors to find his redemption. Director Christopher Reith walks away from the conventional structure of a horror film to insist not necessarily on the impact of the exaggerated cinematography but on the mute terror of the individual confronted with the incarnation of their fears that, like a Minotaur, hunts them through the gigantic maze of their own sensibility. Thus, the spectator doesn’t interact with a classic epic structure or with some more or less predictable jump-scares, but with a macabre, diffuse and mute hallucination whose suggestiveness and psychological tension reminds us of some of the terrifying fragments of Kubrick’s films.


Without having a consistent narrative support, this mute and implosive short film that touches the paroxysm of the protagonist’s fear by unleashing a monstrous apparition depicts, in a somewhat allegorical key, the sterile existential cyclicality of a person wandering through the labyrinth of claustrophobic hallucinations in search of their own self.


Like any other experimental film, properly surprising the narrative stake is extremely superfluous. Therefore, the great quality of this short film doesn’t lie in the complexity of its storyline, not even in the magnitude of its parable dimension, but in the director’s ability to credibly capture the crisis of the individual breathlessly seeking their emotional integrity. Christopher Reith proves a mature and magnetic directorial vision, creating a compelling and suffocating universe, using a pleasant sickly and contrasting chromatic palette that blends with the haunting sound effect into a visceral cinematic substance. ‘Chain’ has impressed us not only by its emotional impact, but also by the deceptive suggestiveness of its epic structure that synthesizes a magnetic experiment about the abyss of the human soul.


For the suggestiveness of Ali Asad’s cinematography, for the implosive and tense directorial vision, but also for the talent with which the main actor embodies one of the valences of pure fear, ‘Chain’ was awarded the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the January 2019 edition of TMFF.