The current horror renaissance on television and at the movies is a double-edged sword. Historically, horror surges in popularity when things get tough for people in the real world. Another ingredient is the influence of strong independent horror during those times. George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and John Carpenter’s Halloween are examples of indie horror films that propelled a given horror subgenre into the mainstream during particularly difficult points in history. Unfortunately, mainstream studios follow the trends and then they crowd out the indies thanks to bigger budgets and more access to equipment and talent.
These days, the availability of recording equipment and streaming services like YouTube allow the makers of independent horror movies to reach broad audiences much more easily than their forebears, which gives independent producers of horror a leg up. The primary difference between a successful independent horror film and a successful mainstream horror film often all comes down to marketing more than it does talent, skill, or quality. Fortunately, love for the genre is still vital to many of us in the horror community, and that love is an edge for independent horror creators, who create out of that love instead of the more uncomplicated desire to profit.
Soundbite, which is a short horror film by filmmaker and podcaster Michael Coulombe, was created by someone who loves the genre. At only four minutes long, the film is more of a scene than an overall story, but it is a scene with some power. The film stars Taylor Murphy-Sinclair as “The Girl” and, contrary to its title, contains no dialogue. Without giving too much more away, I will say that the film was able to hold my attention for the entirety of its four-minute run. In this age of short attention spans, that’s saying a lot.
My only issue with Soundbite is the fact that it is more of a scene than a story. There’s a beginning, and then something happens, but there’s no real conflict or resolution. The entire scene feels like an opener for an episode of a Steven Moffat-era episode of Doctor Who. It’s worth a watch, but I think it would be much more successful as a single scene from a larger tale.
Soundbite is available to watch for free on YouTube.