44 Image


By Alan Ng | February 27, 2024

Watching Dhwani Shah’s horror short, 44, made me think that if I lived near an abandoned office building, I’d make a horror film, too. It’s the middle of the night in an abandoned building with lights on the top floor flashing intermittently on and off. On the street are a trio of young adults waiting for their customer to complete their drug deal.

When they realize no one is coming, the police show up. One of the young women runs off into the abandoned building. As she steps quietly through the darkened floors, she realizes she’s not alone and decides to head to the light on the 44th floor.

“…steps quietly through the darkened floors, she realizes she’s not alone…”

As much as Dhwani Shah’s 44 is an effective to-the-point horror short, Shah takes this haunted location and milks everything she finds in that building to horrific effect. Trash, discarded junk, what little electrical devices she can muster, and a working construction elevator, Shah takes every element and incorporates it into her story.

44 takes these elements and shoots them perfectly to up the ghastly ante with composition and lighting (or lack thereof). Shah creates a ghostly environment, and it only makes lead actor Sarah Hashmi’s performance easier for her and authentic for us. Shah deeply understands what disturbs us and how to shoot it.

44 (2024)

Directed and Written: Dhawni Shah

Starring: Sarah Hashmi, Rudraksh Thakur, Pragati Misra, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

44 Image

"…understands what disturbs us and how to shoot it."

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