by The Headless Critic
The Madame in Black – 2017
Production by: JLV Pictures
In the year, 1633 the Countess Kristina Benediklsdotter was sentenced to be burnt alive for witchery of the gruesome murder of her husband, Count Johan Gyllencrentz, and her two children. The story became an urban legend that later turned into a frightening game for generations to come.
Many years later in 1995 two children are bored at home while their parents are away. Young Emma (Zalma Lopez) convinces her little brother Alex (Oliver Lopez) to go to their dark basement and play the urban legend known as Madame in Black. The child siblings call for the witch three times and wait for her to appear. Modern day Alex (Demis Tzivis) visits his sister Emma (Ida Gyllensten) for her birthday. At the end of the gathering the choice is between watching Wheel of Fortune or playing Madame in Black. The grown children fall back into their old ways. Just as he did some twenty years prior Alex is the only one who sees the black shadow fleetingly in the distance. Is Alex haunted by childhood memories or is the four hundred year old fable out to get him?
Written and directed by professional Swedish short filmmaker Jarno Lee Vinsencius who has over thirty-five shorts on his resume. Vinsencius knows how to make a horror movie. This horror short has all of the qualities of a studio film and is better than many horror features with wide theatrical releases. Minor spots of cinematography, acting and a little too overly produced reveal are well made up for by the suspense that is captured. In half the film (twelve minutes) Vinsencius is able to make you care about his characters more than many feature films can in their entire runtime. The Madame in Black does a lot with very little, creating a dark, entertaining, suspenseful and scary horror story. Catch this Swedish short if you can and look for Vinsencius’ upcoming first feature release Evil Rising which will be in English. I’m interested to see what he can do with a feature budget.
4 out of 5 Headless Critics