Frightfest 2018: Corvidae (2018) Short Film Review

Revenge is not far away, as the crow flies...

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Making its World Premiere at the 2018 FrightFest, Corvidae tells the story of a young girl who, in rescuing an injured crow from a cruel gang of boys, finds more than just a new feathered friend.

Crows, like many of the Corvid family of birds, are smart. Smarter than you may expect, and possibly smarter than you may be comfortable with. In tests, they’ve demonstrated problem-solving intelligence and the ability to create and use tools, as well as self-awareness and long memories. It’s this last skill which elegantly comes in to play in writer/director Tom de Ville’s atmospheric fantasy horror short Corvidae.

Frightfest Corvidae Film review

Maisie Williams has always had a slightly other-worldly quality to her: an effortless ability to convey the existence of a very old soul in a very young body, which is why she has so impressed in her work on both Game Of Thrones and Doctor Who. Here, she brings an undeniably ethereal quality to this short film, helping it make the leap from grounded realism to eldritch bucolic fantasy.

Although short on dialogue – the entire film is wordless – it’s rich in atmosphere as de Ville and cinematographer Maja Zamojda create a muted, near-monochrome colour palette of midwinter trees and muddied fields, the striking imagery accompanied by a beautiful score from Adam Nordén. The character of Jay, bolstered by tantalising hints of a possible tragedy in her past, feels authentic and well-developed despite the brevity of the piece, thanks to Williams’ performance and an exquisite attention to detail in the ephemera which litter her bedroom.

Ultimately, Corvidae manages to be not only a satisfyingly spooky fable in its own right, but also a tantalising taste of a larger mythology and a small part of a bigger tale yet to be told. Building on Tom de Ville’s genre track record, this short provides another step along the path to what is becoming a highly anticipated feature directing debut.

Director: Tom de Ville
Stars: Maisie Williams, Jamie Davis, Archie Duffy
Runtime: 11 minutes
Country: UK

Film Rating: ★★★★☆

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