‘Shoes’ as reviewed by Emily Thomas
Shoes (Craig Johnston) is a funny and innovative take on the comedy horror genre. Based on an
idea that came simply from a shoe falling down the stairs, Craig successfully pulls off a micro short
– a difficult feat made possible by reliance on the visual gag and snappy editing. At only a minute
and a half the film manages to draw us in, ramp up the tension and end on a laugh, a testament to
the director’s skill as a filmmaker.
We watch as our protagonist’s channel surfing (audio from Game of Thrones is used to establish a
sense of dramatic mystery and intrigue) is interrupted by a thump from upstairs, and he leaves to
investigate the mysterious noise. The tension- increased effectively by the sparse use of dialogue
and slow pacing- is broken suddenly at the end with a surprising twist. Craig says in his director’s
interview that he aims to one day make a horror but was limited on the day, as the entire short is a
one man production.
Despite the fact it only took two hours to film and storyboarded in his head, the
cinematography is clean and creative. Every angle has clearly been meticulously planned: one
particularly memorable shot depicts Craig’s face from behind as he turns and looks through the
curtains. Craig’s background in cinematography and photography is clear, and he says that the use
of colour within the film is also intended to further the narrative. The camera transitions from the
warmth of the sitting room to the colder light of the hallway and darkness at the top of the stairs,
taking us on a “visual journey” that shows this short film is anything but rushed.
Shoes is a brilliant example of a solo project, and proof that you don’t need a big cast and crew to
film something effective. A sequel to Shoes is also available: who knows, it might pop up in a future
Film Scene screening…