When it comes to narrative based shorts, often the best routes of approach is to structure them like a joke, with a set up and a punchline. It’s simple yet effective and it works wonderfully here in writer/director John Chris Lopez’s The Girl in the Photograph. The story is another one adapted from a creepypasta found floating around the net, but unlike many adaptations of this kind, Devin Morse’s cinematography manages to make things suitably cinematic. It’s shot in a crisp black and white and gives the film a classy look. There’s only one duff shot in the film, a long one in which The Photographer (Paul Oviedo) stands against a complex background of foliage. The actor gets totally lost against this background and that would only really work in colour, or less contrasted fim.
That’s a small gripe however. The film is the perfect length for the story at six minutes, including credits. The black and white, the deliberate simplicity of the narrative and the wise choice not to have characters speak easily and skillfully sells us actions which, with hindsight, aren’t wholly realistic.
As the film reaches its climax, the sudden action at the end is shocking and even if some will see it coming, it’s delivered with such a sudden clip that it still manages to alarm. And then the punchline. It is genuinely chilling and I audibly exclaimed on the final reveal. It’s a very classic feeling piece of horror and easily rewards just a moment of your time.
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