Finding out that a horror movie is based on a true story gives me an immediate feeling of dread, because nothing is scarier than knowing that “monsters” can be real. The new short film, 42 Counts, from writer/director Jill “Sixx” Gevargizian (The Stylist, Call Girl), is based on a true story that deals with the dark side of human nature and for me, that makes it even more terrifying. Produced by Sixx Tape Productions and Method Media, 42 Counts had its world premiere at Chattanooga Film Festival on April 6th.

42 Counts stars Najarra Townsend (Contracted, The Stylist) as Alicia and Andrea Dover (Scary Film, The Luhrmanns) as Ava, friends who are enjoying a girls’ night watching scary movies and talking about guys. Something unusual catches Alicia’s eye in the stunning apartment full of modern décor they are renting from their boss. Soon they find themselves in the dark with flashlights on an unexpected quest to uncover a sinister secret. Townsend and Dover are gifted actresses who succeed at making you feel like you know their characters in just eight minutes.

42 Counts
Andrea Dover and Najarra Townsend in ’42 Counts’

One of the most incredibly talented women on the indie film scene, Jill Gevargizian, does a fantastic job of translating a traumatizing true story into an unnerving short horror film. Once Alicia and Ava realize their fate, it is too late for the victims to escape and their lives are changed forever. The look of sheer terror on Ava’s face in the last scene is particularly haunting. The lighting and cinematography are extraordinarily effective at augmenting a sense of discomfort as the story unfolds. I was left with a sick, cold feeling in the pit of my stomach that has stayed with me long after screening the film.

In my opinion, 42 Counts is essential viewing, not just from the point of view of a film fan, but also as an empathetic human being. To find out where you can see the short film, make sure to follow 42 Counts on Facebook. You can also follow Method Media and Sixx Tape Productions on Twitter for additional updates.

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