Have you ever worked late, the building full of shadows and the occasional strange sound, and ever wondered if you were being watched? Have you considered that what is watching you is an eldritch entity with little rhyme or reason? Well, Jon Salmon’s short film Low explores similar underlying fears through a mostly succinct and nearly silent narrative – though its production jank and climax may be a bit too off-putting for audiences.
The Electrician (Russ Kingston) rides the elevator down to the basement floor to reset the breaker boxes, contemplating his work schedule. While down there, he is stalked and taunted by a faceless foe; whether a spirit, creature, or just his imagination, it rattles pipes, scuttles between shelves, and flickers the overhead lights relentlessly until it plunges the poor man into total darkness.
“…he is stalked and taunted by a faceless foe…”
The film has certainly not aged well since its release in 2006, but that doesn’t mean the film isn’t worth the watch. While the MiniDV footage isn’t pretty or sleek, Salmon demonstrates a highly attuned knowledge of film language and visual cues, evenly compensating for the technical shortcomings – almost. The sound design is patchworked together rather haphazardly, often responsible for ripping us from any immersion achieved, while possessing a few scattershot moments of clever editing. Kingston is neither terrible nor stupendous in his role. He is more of a plot mechanic than an actual character; a clothesline from which spooky moments are hung.
However, the real issue that inhibits the experience is the climax, an ending without a release of the built tension, fizzling out, and rolling credits. While the film possesses a considerable amount of interesting editing tricks and visual gimmicks that keep the film afloat, but it soon sinks under the weight of its limitations. An interesting albeit underwhelming exercise in the “stalked from the darkness” subgenre of horror, Low is something that is just okay, and that’s okay.
"…Have you…ever wondered if you were being watched?"