A knight, Sir Arthur Talon (Lee Ordeman), rides through the darkness to the monastery where his sick wife Charlotte (Tricia McCauley) is being nursed back to health. As Arthur arrives, he learns the bad news that his wife has been stricken with an illness similar to what killed his first wife, Charlotte’s sister Anne (Tara Garwood). Unfortunately for all involved, however, Anne’s “sickness” was actually the result of a vampire attack, and the now undead Anne is preying on Charlotte out of revenge on Arthur for getting over his first wife so quickly.
…Never Dream, The Beginning is based on a novel by Scott Charles Adams and, as the title suggests, this is just the beginning. In other words, this short film is mostly setup for a much larger tale (hopefully) to come later. The most basic conflicts are introduced, and we get the idea that Sir Arthur Talon’s vampiric adventures will get far messier before they get better.
The film is lit as one would expect for a medieval tale, which is to say that it is dark save for the highlights from natural light sources within the scene. This gives the already shadowy tale a more sinister fog most of the time, and the edges of the frame recede into darkness for additional effect. It’s an appropriate visual style that works to enhance instead of take away from the film.
The visual effects, sometimes practical and other times computer generated, are passable for the most part, though sometimes the vampiric make-up styling betrays its falseness. Still, since we know what we’re in for, it doesn’t do too much damage to the overall enjoyment. It’s just noticeable.
Another small quibble I have with the film is the credits, oddly enough. The opening credits take up about two minutes of the roughly nineteen minute running time (though they are mixed with enough imagery to keep the film moving forward), but that nineteen minute total running time involves three minutes of end credits too. In other words, this is a nineteen minute short that is actually about fourteen minutes of actual narrative. You don’t want to lose the audience before they even have a chance to get into it, opening credits-wise and, if you’re submitting to film festivals, for example, you got a better shot at getting a fourteen minute short in than a nineteen minute short. It’s a different situation for a feature, sure, but this is a short film. However, since this was shot as a thesis project, it may not matter regarding where the film goes next but it is something for the filmmakers to perhaps think about when moving forward with their next film.
…Never Dream, The Beginning has stoked my curiosity for the fate of Sir Arthur Talon and, despite the abundance of vampire tales out there, both cinematic and otherwise, I’m still interested to see where the story leads. I don’t know if I’ll have the patience to wait for the next film to come along, if there is to be one, so I may just hunt down the source novel, but I definitely want to see the continuation of the film adaptation too.
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