The Little Chapel
It’s the dead of night, the streets are completely empty, and not a sound breaks the serene calm of the town. Out of the blue, the overwhelming quietness is interrupted by footsteps – a young woman walks at a steady pace toward the local church. It’s a bit too quick for a leisurely stroll and too determined for an evening jog – is she going to the cemetery to pay her respects to a deceased family member or friend? Is she meeting anyone this late in the night?
As the girl enters, she drops to her knees and holds a book in her hands, apparently getting ready to read a prayer. What she ends up uttering, however, is not a prayer, but some sort of incantation. Suddenly, the doors slam behind her, locking her in just as the realization that she might not be alone in the church starts to seep in.
'The Little Chapel’s greatest charm lies in its imagery. The opening sequence offers a series of beautiful establishing shots of the church and its natural surroundings, starting with a dusk view and then cutting to a darker, nighttime series of shots. These images, combined with the chirping of crickets, manage to effectively set the short film’s atmosphere and establish an eerie feel which accompanies the project throughout its entire runtime.
Clocking in at around one minute and thirty seconds, if we don’t count the opening and closing credits, 'The Little Chapel' feels a little bit like a missed opportunity in terms of content. This is most of all because we as an audience need the project’s logline in order to understand the girl’s purpose – this is expected to be made clear within the film itself, either through key imagery, dialogue/monologue or a flashback. Although we love open-ended finales, due to lack of information or at least some symbolism, the wrapping up part seems a bit rushed and lacking. And while the film looks pretty good, not the same praise can be heaped upon the audio part – it seems a bit low quality and not that well balanced.
While it has its share of problems both in terms of technical aspects and content matters, such misgivings do not make 'The Little Chapel' a terrible movie. It retains a sort of Gothic charm and mysterious allure, and even its lack of concrete plot points may work in its favor, as it keeps the audience guessing – albeit for a bit less than two minutes. All in all, Richard Schertzer’s project is a good effort made with love for the horror genre.