Steven Shea's "2:22" is an exceptional example of technical filmmaking. Clocking in at just under ten minutes, Shea's film is constructed with such a technical proficiency that most feature filmmakers' jaws would drop in envy. Told nearly entirely without any coherent dialogue, “2:22” relies on visuals and elaborate sound/music design to engage the viewer, and it does so to incredible effect.
As mentioned, "2:22" is essentially without dialogue, yet the story is told in a visual manner that is every bit as effective at moving the plot forward as a more dialogue-centric film. From its jarring opening scene, it's obvious that "2:22" is both a (potentially) interesting endeavor and a very technically solid film.
The film looks great and director Shea shows a terrific understanding of what makes a professional looking production. Too often in short films, the production values suffer due to lack of any substantial budget. While I'm not certain what the budget of "2:22" was, I can say the film looks fantastic. The equivalent of the figurative 'million bucks'.
Perhaps more important to the overall effectiveness of the film, the sound is nothing less than brilliant. I unfortunately missed the beginning of the Freakshow screening, but Steven Shea was kind enough to provide me with a DVD screener. A screener with a full 5.1 surround track. I must admit, while the film looks great, it sounds just a little bit better. Layers upon layers of music and sound serve to manipulate the viewer emphasizing the intensity of what is occurring onscreen. When the elaborate sound design completely drops out in favour of just a simple gasp, Shea's skill as a director is all the more apparent.
"2:22" is a celluloid wet dream for film lovers who can appreciate the technical aspects of the filmmaking process. A horror short that is appropriately simple from a storytelling perspective, yet incredibly well manufactured; so well manufactured, in fact, that I would offer that it was the most well made film at the 2009 Freak Show Film Festival.
"2:22" is an exercise in technical proficiency that is second to nothing I have ever seen in an independent short. Steven Shea is a filmmaker which I will continue to watch throughout his inevitably impressive career.