Amy (Julie Bruns), a marine biologist stationed in a remote float house on the rugged Pacific Northwest coast, is chilled when disturbing sounds begin to whisper through her underwater microphone. She calls in the help of Stan (Shawn Major), an underwater technician, to try to understand what may be causing it, but what lurks underneath is no easy fix.
They say that the perfect horror short film doesn’t exist. No, that’s a lie. There are plenty of shorts out there that are absolutely brilliant–gems among countless pebbles. With the number of short films I watch, I’m lucky enough to encounter such gems more often than most. The Purgamentum is one such short film. While not hands-down the best short I’ve ever seen, it checks off all of the boxes that–for me–make for a great short film experience and here’s why. Let’s discuss.
It is original. I’ve never seen a film covering this particular theme is this particular way and neither have you (probably). I love it when a film introduces me to a world I know nothing about. Secondly, the characters are likeable and are perfectly believable. It’s educational in the sense that you are learning about a profession that you probably knew nothing about. They weren’t actors, they were environmentalist divers or something…I bought it hook, line and sinker. Thirdly, it is an eco-awareness film but that doesn’t–at all–detract from the fact that it is 100% a horror film from start to end. Great score, brilliant editing, smart concept, well-executed, awesome set…I have nothing that I can fault and that makes me really happy. As a critic, I find no joy in critiquing someone’s art and I am overcome with delight when I don’t have to. It was perfect.
I see so much that is mostly borrowed ideas and recycled tropes so I’m always left giddy when I get to experience something new. The Purgamentum scratched that itch and now I have nothing else to say except for “double fuck” which absolutely cracked me up. Watch the short and you’ll get the joke. It is most definitely worth your time, money, and support. And if you are reading this as a festival director, pick this one up. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Poster below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.