A deputy that has recently transferred to the town of Beecher’s Gate, is ordered by the town’s sheriff to spend a night alone in a barn with only a shotgun as a rite of passage.
Calling The Thing About Beecher’s Gate a really cute horror short is certainly doing the film an injustice, but it was far more fun and lighthearted than it was haunting or terrifying. While not quite a horror-comedy, it’s quirky one-liners and upbeat nature made for a very entertaining half hour.
Starring Morgan McLeod as Deputy Eli Stoker, Alex Bryan as Clancy, and Chris Cipa as the sheriff, The Thing About Beecher’s Gate is the tale of a ritual hazing for newbie deputies that is far more ritual than it is hazing. Stoker, the new guy in town, is hesitant to partake in what he considers to be a prank set up by his new superior, having been warned by friends in his old department to “watch out for the boys from Beecher’s Gate.” Dropped off at a shed for the night and told little about what to expect, Eli amuses himself rather comically until some strange guests show up.
First off, the cinematography was really well done, especially the opening scenes—great into with the shotgun shells and the credits. The editing stays solid throughout the short and you can tell that it was snipped and cut to a neat thirty minutes for both effect and for those festival entries. It keeps a solid pace from start to end, each scene with a purpose and adding to the film. The acting, while not in the running for any Oscars, was pretty decent—Morgan McLeod did a great job and was an incredibly likeable character; something make or break for a short like this.
The special effects were used sparingly but honestly quite brilliantly. I don’t want to give away exactly how as that would just spoil the film, but suffice it to say that writer/director Jeremy Herbert managed to turn simple into a spectacle. While talking technical, the score for me was rather distracting. This is obviously something of a personal taste, but I’d have liked either more or less…less as in just background and ambient sounds and not as noticeable or more as in something a bit creepier or chilling—this felt like the score didn’t know quite what it was trying to be.
Did that spoil the film for me though? Absolutely not. All the other aspects came together beautifully. Creating a short film takes a whole different set of skills and talent than one would use for a feature film and it’s no easy task. You don’t get that ninety-minute runtime that allows for plot and character progression, not to mention that you need to captivate the audience, make sense of a concentrated plot, condense all your acts into mere minutes, and still pull off sharing your vision with your audience. It is, by no means, a menial task. If those previous points were a checklist, The Thing About Beecher’s Gate succeeds fully in dotting its i’s and crossing its t’s.
From an entertainment standpoint, this was a full-star experience (minus one for the score)—it was a great concept well executed with a quirky cast and a dynamic cut. It was fun, it was funny (even if it didn’t try to be), and it held my attention from start to finish. I’d love to be able to experience this one on a big screen with fellow horror nerds all around me. If you have the opportunity to do just that, don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.