Intransigent (Tom O’Brien) is a deeply atmospheric and evocative homage to the horror films of George Romero. The stylised use of light and colour furthers the tense atmosphere throughout, and precise sound editing immerses us in this apocalyptic world of zombies and violence. O’Brien, a horror aficionado, manages to maintain a consistent tension throughout, and pulls off a difficult genre by relying on the sensory rather than dialogue. Convincing zombie acting (a talent that is hard to come by) renders the events of the film all the more believable and makes for an absorbing watch.
O’Brien successfully produces a short that adheres to the tone of classic horror movies, but feels anything but dated. The film begins with a montage that immerses us in this post apocalyptic society, and news reports inform us of the spread of a mysterious disease. The short is shot predominantly in black and white, with dramatic lighting enhancing the contrast between light and darkness . A focus on tiny details accentuates the tension throughout- blood dripping into a white bath and smoke wafting from a cigarette contribute to the slow pacing and gradual unfolding of the plot. The flashbacks are the only part of the film in colour- the protagonist’s memory of romance is bathed in a vibrant red that suggests both love and violence.
The sound editing is a subtle but vital component of the ever-increasing tension within the film: the faint sounds of helicopters and distant screams support O’Brien’s post-apocalyptic vision and contribute to the dark mystery of the atmosphere. This nuanced combination of music and visuals results in a truly spooky film, and it is evident that this is not O’Brien’s first foray into the genre, as he discussed his love of horror films and plans for future productions in the director’s interview.
An atmospheric take on the classic zombie film, Intransigent is a fitting tribute to Romero’s genius that leaves the viewer wanting more.