By Elias Savada | January 20, 2014

A cute, adequately diverting black-and-white (shot on Kodak film) horror short courtesy of a filmmaking student at Wesleyan University. A thesis film. Director-writer-editor Ethan Young has a few of his earlier efforts up on Vimeo (“Shut In” and “Mr. Nobody’s Big Day”) that, like “Trauma” show potential, but his pacing and directing skills are still in development.

Somewhere in Connecticut, Isabelle Tutledge (Allyn Morse), a fairly normal looking young woman, but an at-risk patient at St. John’s Psychiatric Clinic, is out for a calm night ride with Dr. Max (Michael T. Francis). The doctor pulls his car over, stopping at his patient’s empty and derelict homestead, presumably an attempt to cure whatever mental ailment afflicts her. The doc promises to cut off her wrist ID bracelet and proclaim her a “free woman,” when she returns from her “encounter” with her past inside the scarily lit house.

While the shadowy cinematography is okay, the limited dialogue and story line could have used better writing. I had to learn what the back story (what little there is) from descriptions found on the web. Cryptic dialogue ensues. Max gives Isabelle an old D-cell flashlight to find her footing inside, although the house later seems to have electricity. Who is winding a ticking wall clock? There’s a creepy-sounding doll, and an old audio cassette player, and barely no dust on either. Isn’t this an abandoned house. Maybe there’s a mad housekeeper afoot?

There’s something wickedly strange in the attic, of course, which, in the hands of Young, provides for a surprise ending.

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