The Erl King is a 13-minute short horror film produced in the crew’s final year of University study and is loosely adapted from the 18th-century poem ‘Erlkönig’ by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The film’s £1,500 budget was pulled together through a short crowdfunding campaign late last year, and its backers are recognised in the credits of the short.
The film was recently awarded ‘Best Original Concept’ at this summer’s Independent Horror Movie Awards, with nominations for Best Short, Best Atmosphere and Best Music.
The film opens intensely, with the score playing a bigger than usual role in the opening scene and things happening very quickly—it’s almost a little “blink and you’ll miss it” so better to be paying attention. It’s a bold move and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The film thereafter continues with a rather rapid pace coupled with a jarring and horrific story. The special effects are well done and edited impeccably.
If I had not read that this was a student film, I would not have believed it. I’ve had seasoned filmmakers submit far worse offerings that this short film puts to shame. It’s not all gold though–the acting is not quite at a professional level, with child actor Lewis Hyman (Alfie) outperforming his adult counterpart (Louise Elliker as Julia). It’s not bad by any means, but it did oftentimes seem a little forced.
The technical aspects are where the film truly shines. Each shot seems like it was cleverly preconceived and well thought out. The score is beautiful yet haunting and works really well with the cinematography. It is a solid, well-made film and I could easily envision it as doing well at a few festivals.
Overall, I really liked it. It was rather sad but also poignant and powerful. There are obvious places for improvement but this team of students put together something already worthy of a festival win and that in and of itself is incredibly noteworthy, especially when looking at the cinematography, direction, and amazing score. The youth of the horror scene is already showing great talent and that gives me hope and makes me truly excited for the future of horror. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.