There’s no doubt that coming up with a concept for, writing, and pacing a short film, isn’t easy. It might seem like shorter would be less difficult, but cramming the structure and development you’re used to see in something that’s closer to feature length, is not as simple as it appears. Writer/director Michael Venn’s Dark Scribbles excels in technical craft, boasts strong acting and a good premise, but falls a bit short in structure and pacing.
Jessica Webb brings feeling and an alternative flair to psychic and would-be relationship counselor (or wrecker), Angela Roberts. She manages to capture an interesting “earthy-crunchy” sort of vibe, mixed with a definitive feminist streak. Jonathan Popp is more than serviceable as boyfriend, Mark, though a significant connection between them is never quite there. He spends a large segment, for the sake of plot exposition, deriding her with unique specificity, before quickly jumping, in the next scene, into how much he loves her with decidedly less originality.
The cinematography is technically quite nice looking, the film having been shot on a Red One, according to the production’s website. There are some nice touches and striking visuals, though there are times when stock transitions were employed that didn’t flow as well as might be expected. The basic plot is engaging, although the structure leaves a little to be desired, and the pacing comes off in a less than desired manner. The evolution flows very nicely, but doesn’t quite culminate in an organic way.
Unfortunately, there’s not much that really grabs you, and you have to work a bit hard for a short subject, to grasp what is going on, and know what direction things are heading in. It’s nearly the end of the film before you realize what point they are attempting to highlight. Something that in a movie under ten minutes, would normally evolve quite quickly in the first scene or two.
Overall, Dark Scribbles presents an interesting, engaging concept, that is a bit half-baked, never quite getting there.
FILM SYNOPSIS - Angela Roberts is a talented psychic. Her psychic abilities and her personal relationships are becoming intertwined. With the help of her husband and friends she soon realizes that sometimes nothing is exactly what it's supposed to be.