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Home Sweet Home - Short Film Review

This independent short film by Ashley Nicole manages to create an uneasy atmosphere, visually depicting the inside of a schizophrenic mind.

Genre: Horror

Director: Ashley Nicole

Cast: Ashley Nicole

Run Time: 4 min.

US Release: 16 November 2022 (YouTube)

UK Release: 16 November 2022 (YouTube)

German Release: 16 November 2022 (YouTube)

As a fan of the art of filmmaking, I like to watch smaller, limited-budgeted indie flicks, every now and then, taking a break from big studio movies. I usually find it interesting to rummage through YouTube or join smaller film fests that screen shorts. In this case, I was approached by the director herself, who asked me to give an objective opinion about her latest short, which can be experienced on her YouTube channel for free. After checking it out, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this little horror flick quite a bit!

Emily, a girl with schizophrenia believes her home is something far more sinister than it seems to be.

Home Sweet Home is told in a short, compressed, four-minute narrative. A moment in the mind of Emily, a young girl that is suffering from schizophrenia, just before taking her medication. Nicole reflects on the possible mind-trickery someone with that condition might be subjected to, implementing some well-elaborated horror genre elements, effectively turning a medical condition, into a haunted house-like scenario! The use of a well-positioned scare jump is also incorporated near the end.

Emily is played by the director herself, though doesn’t have any dialogue. What we see is mostly experienced from her point of view, with shots cutting back every couple of times, focusing on her confused and scared face. Ashley Nicole did a good enough job, of conveying the emotions of awe, distrust and fear, through facial expressions.

The cinematography for this little indie pic is very creative, using upward angled shots or extreme zoom-ins, to make the hand-made modelled house look larger. The magnificent use of shadows, plus dimmed neon lighting, hides some of the low-budgeted props, while simultaneously creating an eerie feeling that puts audiences on edge. Simply put, the camera work is brilliant.

Props are practical and the limited budget can be seen. Yet that all can be forgiven, as the cardboard/paper mache house looks spooky in the dark black light/ neon red. What left me most impressed, is the pulsating hall with spikes. It contains a slight fantasy touch, that reminded me a little of Coraline.

The score, by Rajat Tiwari, is extremely effective. Just as with the setting, props plus the camera work, the music balances impressively between horror and fantasy, reminiscent of an old-school music box.


Verdict: This four-minute horror short, by the twenty-two-year-old director Ashley Nicole, is very inspiring. She has a talent for writing, directing, as well as editing. The idea of centering the story around a character, suffering from a reality-warping mental disorder, and letting audiences experience what she sees through her eyes, is fantastic. While being a horror short, it also touches lightly on the fantasy genre. The camera work is handled very well, using specific shots to create an illusionary effect. The editing is efficient, and the music sets the tone for this little featurette. The protagonist Emily is played by Nicole herself, who manages to convey the emotions of wonder and fright well enough. Home Sweet Home is worth an 8.0 out of 10.

If you are interested in seeing this short, go click on the LINK. Ashley Nicole’s YouTube channel contains more of her work, it is worth checking it out!


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