By RJ Bayley
Writer and director Andy Stewart’s INK is a revolting short in the best possible sense. The film is relatively lengthy for a short, clocking in at around 20 minutes in total and contains very minimal dialogue or much in the way of character interaction. Yet it is utterly captivating. Sammy Hayman portrays “The Man”. Specifically in this case “The Man who cuts other people’s tattoos off in order to stitch them to himself”. The topic of tattooing within the context of body horror seems so obvious and appropriate, and yet it’s almost astounding to think that the combination hasn’t been exploited more before. Clearly INK is by a filmmaker who loves the body horror subgenre, not just visible from how compelling and well executed this iteration of the format is, but also from the little nods to genre greats like David Cronenberg and An American Werewolf in London.
Central to body horror, more so than most other film genres, are the special effects. The film is disgustingly convincing in every detail. The skinned skin looks right, as does what’s underneath as The Man gorily pulls away his own, leaving bridges of viscous bodily fluid between the two. The stitching around the skin segments wouldn’t look out of place in a Texas Chains Saw Massacre film, and the removal of those stitches is equally unpleasant. The plat de résistance however, is when the new skin patches become infected and begin to ooze puss in the most foul way. INK is a wonderful short film; you can’t take your eyes off it. It could easily be turned into a captivating full length feature, and I sincerely hope it does. Just don’t make the mistake I did and watch it eating a bag of dried fruit.
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