Nate Ruegger’s Trust Me—A Witness Account of the Goatman opens with an ominous bit of information. The “Goatman” is:
“A creature native to the forests of North America known for its overwhelming scent, for its ability to change shape, and for stalking humans.”
Jim (Luke Cook) and Becca (Alexandra Bayless) finds themselves at a cabin in the woods for a romantic weekend. Really romantic as Jim is practicing his proposal to Becca. The two are playful and getting ready for a hike on a wilderness path.
Along the way, Jim discovers a carcass of some sort covered with a blanket. It stinks and it’s swarming with flies. Becca is immediately creeped out and begs Jim to go back to the cabin. Jim wants to goof with it, but better heads prevail.
In the middle of the night, Becca wakes up alone in bed and sees Jim standing in the woods. Something is wrong with Jim. What’s out in the woods?
“Along the way, Jim discovers a carcass of some sort covered with a blanket.”
From Leslie O’Neill’s screenplay, director Ruegger takes on the lore of the Goatman to build a short film filled with tension and scares. He employs tried and true cinematic techniques of a horror thriller and tells a solid story. We have the shadowy figure passing in front of the camera, music to build enhance the tension, creepy off-camera noises, and lastly main characters in distress.
I think the weakness of Trust Me is one of levels. I’m not a big horror fan, so if I can get through a horror film than it’s just not scary enough. That’s not to say it wasn’t scary, it just not scary enough. The short is loaded with tension, but missing uncomfortable moments. Moments that knock us off-balance and drags us into the terror. We want to feel the danger.
This last one is a little nit picky, but the short is shot with a locked, down stable camera. The free movement of a handheld camera might help in increasing the tension and heighten the scare factors.
Trust Me—A Witness Account of the Goatman is a solid short film, that needed to ramp up the scare factor a few notches. Good tension. More horror.
Trust Me—A Witness Account of the Goatman (2019) Directed by Nate Ruegger. Written by Leslie O’Neill. Starring Alexandra Bayliss, Luke Cook. Trust Me—A Witness Account of the Goatman screened at the 2019 Dances With Films.
6.5 out of 10 stars