Directed by Wesley Holloway and produced by Chloe Carroll, Elysia stars the talents of Rachel Donahue in the titular role and the aforementioned Chloe Carrol as Molly. The film is a ten-minute short that follows the relationship between the two leads. Having recently lost her son to old age after his refusal to be turned, Molly—a vampire—goes to extreme lengths to fill the void left in her heart…leaving Elysia to clean up after her.
While one instantly notices the same-sex relationship of our saucy opening scene, it is more of a mood-setter than the meat behind the film’s message. I felt instead that the film’s focus was not the gender of our protagonists, but rather the unique, deleterious relationship between them. There is a strong focus on lust and power, with one partner clearly holding more than the other.
While Elysia is—at least at first glance—a traditional vampire/human love story, it tries to tell a very different tale; one of caution and self-reflection. It is more an allegory of domestic violence and spousal abuse; a journey of one party realising that they are in a relationship that is toxic and that drastic changes are needed if they, and others in their lives, are to be kept safe.
There is a lot to like, particularly when it comes to the clean stylisation of shapes and colours. There is a very heavy contrast with the white, red, and black aesthetic—purity, sin, lust, and death all conveyed through dark shades and biblical imagery. This melded well with the mellow score and focussed cinematography. The special effects were also far better than I had expected, with most short films spending their budgets elsewhere. Elysia seemed to spare no expense when I came to getting all of its scenes just right.
My only gripe would be that Elysia is what I would consider pretty standard fare when it comes to your typical festival entry. It is well cut and crafted, thoughtfully produced and intelligent…but it is also very safe. There was little to get your heart racing and it was definitely more message-centred than it was concerned about getting the old ticker racing. Horror films mean different things to different people, and this was definitely one where horror was more the medium to convey the message that it was the central focus of the film.
Growing up in Needmore, Pennsylvania—a city with “more cattle than people”—Wesley Mellott’s introduction to filmmaking came from watching movies and recreating them with friends. After majoring in Film Studies at Penn State, Mellott began making his own films and co-founded Thinking Art Entertainment, a Philadelphia-based film company that has produced two feature films and over 15 original short films. In addition to being a freelance video editor and cinematographer, Wesley runs their YouTube channel that specializes in behind the scenes filmmaking content that teaches filmmakers of all levels.
Elysia will premiere on the FEAR CRYPT channel on Wed 21st at 8 pm EST. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and poster below.
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