Not Him Image

Not Him

By Alan Ng | April 17, 2024

There are specific advantages that come with short film. With Sarah Young’s Not Him, the advantage comes with focusing on an idea and expanding upon it without the pressure of trying to tell that story over 90 minutes.

From all appearances, Michelle and John are the perfect, comfortable married couple. Behind closed doors, there is someone wrong with John…almost as if a sinister force possessed him. This force appears to have John locked away in the back recesses of his mind and insists that Michelle follow his every instruction…and whim…at a moment’s notice.

Michelle has invited her best friend, Kim, and her partner, Joe, for dinner tonight. John warns Michelle that she be on her best behavior…or else.

“This force appears to have John locked away in the back recesses of his mind…”

With Not Him, what we have is a seed of a horror film idea. Filmmaker Sarah Young has an idea, cranks it up like a wind-up toy, and sees how it plays out in a short burst. She’s made a very tidy and self-contained horror film with potential.

I’m not entirely sure if this was Michelle’s intention or not. However, after watching the short film, you will realize that there is a more significant message in the background. The relationship between Michelle and John, who is possessed, touches on the theme of domestic abuse. The entity that has taken over John’s body now attempts to control Michelle as well.

This tension is hauntingly played out by lead actors Tori Ernst and Charlie McElveen. McElveen goes double-duty, playing almost two completely different roles. Ernst is the trapped wife looking to escape the situation while wanting to save John and her friends.

I’ll admit that Not Him is more of a message than a horror film. However, filmmaker Sarah Young expertly handles the HORROR, the story, tone, and performances to create a compelling allegory for domestic abuse.

Not Him (2024)

Directed and Written: Sarah Young

Starring: Tori Ernst, Charlie McElveen, Katharine Chin, Ryan Nicholas Cooper, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Not Him Image

"…expertly handles the HORROR, the story, tone, and performances..."

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