Defarious is a multi award-winning independent short film directed by Chase Michael Pallante that tells the story of a young woman named Amy, played by Janet Miranda, who is plagued by terrifying nightmares. The film depicts the events of one night and has very little dialogue, but it’s obvious that the nightmares are recurring and may have been triggered by the death of Amy’s mother.
The clock ticks ominously, and Amy is awakened by what she thinks is a bad dream. As she walks through the house, she hears the sound of glass breaking and senses that she is not alone. I thought the use of blue and black tones made the lighting effective and set an uncomfortable mood for the film as Amy searches the house. The music is sometimes frantic and reminiscent of an 80’s slasher flick. In fact, this movie incorporates everything I love about slasher movies from the 1980’s to create a perfect atmosphere of fear, dread and blood.
Amy believes that someone, or something, is stalking her in the darkness. She sees a figure with pale skin draped in a black cloak and hears a sinister voice. While she is being pursued, her mother appears to her as a ghostly apparition, but there is another presence that seems demonic and calls itself ‘Defarious’ (Jason Torres).
Is what she is experiencing reality? Is she dreaming? Is she emotionally unstable? Is she suffering from an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed medical condition such as sleep paralysis? You also have to consider things like lucid thought, lucid dreaming, and hallucinations that can occur during the onset of sleep. I think what’s really compelling is that the film allows the viewer to decide. This film even encourages you to explore the possible explanations for what is happening to Amy. With the appearance of her deceased mother, there is also a supernatural element to the film.
In just a little over eleven minutes Defarious succeeds in inspiring the viewer to examine our own subconscious minds. Check out this short film if you dare. “Fear takes over your mind.”