A mysterious phenomena occurs during a video call, leading to a Texas resident’s death.
Freak Accident is a micro short film written, directed, edited, and starring Thomas Burke. Burke is an award-winning indie filmmaker that specializes in the found footage genre and has been working with various professionals in the field to hone his craft. His latest offering—Freak Accident—hums a different tune to his previous films, using a healthy dash of nostalgia and flashy 90s graphics to help recreate one of his own, personal nightmares.
It is really hard to summarize a micro short film as they usually only run for a minute or two, so any form of synopsis is usually a spoiler. Rather than spoil the surprise, let’s talk about the medium through which the story is told; AOL!
Well, OK. It’s not necessarily AOL, but we absolutely have that Windows 95 vibe that the older of you will recognize right away. It’s a nostalgic blast to the past, though I absolutely do not remember video conferencing being nearly that advanced back in the mid-to-late 90s. At best, there were programs like WebCall that allowed you to bypass telephone charges for international calls, but nothing quite as fancy as the FaceTime, Zoom, or Discord programs of today. Nevertheless, for the sake of the film, let us choose to suspend our disbelief and forge ahead.
The main plot follows a call between Zack (Zachary Scott) and Tommy (Thomas Burke)—a call that starts friendly but quickly becomes heated as the two friends discuss what seems to be the onset of an unknown illness. Tommy, if one pays careful attention to the media he is reading, seems to be something of a conspiracy junkie, so the why and how of the events that follow the ill-fated phone call, while left a mystery, become all the more mysterious once one considers Tommy’s conspiratorial hobbies.
All in all, the short film is a lot of fun and definitely light-hearted in nature. The special effects are very pop art and pulled right out of a 90s B-horror. The media and medium used are all intentional throwbacks and the characters are tropey but likeable. It’s a cheesy ride but definitely an enjoyable watch. Burke has clearly been advancing his found-footage techniques and I felt that this was a good foreshadowing of longer and larger projects that may be in the works. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Freak Accident is set to premiere this March in San Francisco at the Unnamed Footage Festival so if you are in the area, go ahead and treat yourself. Artwork below. I’ve added the director’s statement after the artwork as it contains spoilers for the film.
This is my demise in the most frightening way I could imagine… When I was seven years old, spontaneous human combustion became the forefront of my thoughts- as well as my biggest fear after learning about it through a TV aired docu-series. Ever since then, I can’t help but picture something like this happening to me…
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