Justice Tirapelli-Jamail and Rocío de la Grana play siblings with blurred lines of reality and consciousness in the new short film, The Barn, by writer, director, producer and cinematographer, Damon Nash White.
The Barn is probably the first film that I’ve seen that would have viewers simultaneously stating, “I was not nearly high enough to watch that.” and “I was way too high to watch that.” While the film’s creator names inspirations such as Lynch and Hitchcock, I found The Barn—if you can believe it—a little more experimental and unhinged than what Lynch threw at us in the past. This is very much out there on the fringe of what passes for cinema today, something more akin to a waking nightmare than a traditional narrative. It’s a poultry-powered mindfuck and I am all for it.
I constantly ramble on about filmmakers not taking chances, playing it safe, and being too afraid to push the envelope lest they incur the scorn of the festival judges and audiences that often make or break a film. I’d be a hypocrite if I did not admit that The Barn does everything that I look for in a short; tossing all of the conventions and norms out of the window and presenting something utterly bold and bizarre. Still though, if one throws out everything that conventionally makes a film “good” and “coherent,” it begs the question: “Is it any good?”
Yes. It’s great. I’ve watched the short three times now and I still have more questions than I do answers. I’m definitely sticking to red meat for at least a week and I feel like my senses were attacked by subliminal messaging or some covert Soviet brainwashing video, but it was an oddly enjoyable experience. I gave up trying to delve deeper and look for hidden messages in the tampons and chicken tenders and just decided to go along for the ride. I’d suggest you do the same. White had this to say about his concept for the production:
I first thought of the idea for The Barn in 2016 after daydreaming while cutting up chicken for dinner, followed by dreams that mirrored the opening of the film. I woke up and just had to put it down on paper.
As for the technical details, the score definitely stands out. As a film without a script, the soundscape is obviously front and centre; a core focus of the film. Again, as with the visuals, it was something different but well composed. A chance was taken and it seems to have paid off. There were some well-framed shots and some clever plays on symmetry, as well as the obvious gore and meat scenes. Good practical effects were coupled with some decent makeup work, but the film is more a fever dream than it is a lesson in technical filmmaking, so expect a mish-mash of all sorts of camera shots, closeups, various media elements and so forth.
Overall, the film was not at all what I was expecting nor was it was I have come to expect from the “safe” festival submissions that find their way into my inbox. Not for the faint of heart, The Barn is probably better suited for those who like to dabble in the strange and the more macabre genres of film. It is a wonderful, fantastic watch so long as you aren’t doing too many psychedelics. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Poster below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.