As premiered at FightFest 2019, The Game of The Clock is a new horror short-film directed by London based Italian director Michele Olivieri about a teenage girl called Alice who visits a friend late at night who is not responding to her calls or text messages. Heightened with worry, the girl decides to investigate further and finds herself entering an empty flat as she tries to unravel the mystery around her friends disappearance. What entails is a frightening game of survival where she must last 5 minutes without looking at an unknown monster. Written notes are scattered across the house which warn Alice and gave her hints on how to survive but she soon finds out that its hard to think straight when you don’t actually know what is going on.
The Game of The Clock may weigh in at only 7 minutes but it delivers an unnerving experience of claustrophobia and eeriness. From the deafening sound of the alarm clock going off to the tight camera angles, this short film is shot to put you very much at unease and create agitation. Sound plays a big part in carrying the mood of this film and building sustained tension and helps to create a dark atmosphere which raises fear. The soundtrack is dark and spooky and the soundscapes complement the lighting. The clever use of black screens and look-away segments helps to keep you intrigued but also anxious about what is around the corner. When watching The Game of The Clock, I felt tense and excited in equal measure due to its technical finesse at creating very effective scares on a shoe-string budget. While the plot may appear to be fairly thin at first, it is by no means linear or predictable. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen next and how it will end. It is impressive to watch a film which is mainly based in a small single location but has such a vast atmosphere and suspense surrounding it.
The Game of The Clock is a highly original and impressive short film which is scary, thrilling and alluring. It is refreshing to see a low budget indie short-film which not only gets the basics right, but shows so much heart and potential to be expanded.
Exclusive Interview with The Game of The Clock Director Michele Olivieri :
1) The Game of the Clock is a very original concept, where did you get the idea from?
MO – Thank you so much. The concept came out of my desire to create something that was both compelling but also budget-friendly. In 2016 I was very much a beginner and therefore had no access to funding. So I came up with the idea to have the protagonist running from something that can’t be seen and developed it with the help of my co-writer Ian Reeds.
2) There are several moments during tense scenes where the camera looks away or blacks out. This added more tension to the scenes as viewer has to imagine what is happening next, was this intentional?
MO – Blacking out the screen was intentional. It is in line with the theme of the unseen which is present in the whole picture. It also helps the audience empathize with the vulnerability and frustration of the Victim – you want to see more, you need to see more, but you can’t.
3) The film uses sound and words to set the lead character uneasy and build fear, how important was sound when you were filming this short and did you come across any issues?
MO – From the beginning on it was clear that the emphasis on sound would be very important due to the theme and screen black outs. We wanted to compensate with a rich and complex soundscape, especially for the monster, which is never entirely seen. It took us a couple of tries to get it right but now the sound design is definitely one of the strengths of the film in my opinion. Bravo to Jack Cox, Robert Brown and Sophie Marchant who worked their magic on sound design, ADR and sound recording respectively.
4) The Game of the Clock was selected for FrightFest 2019 and was screened infront of large audiences, how did you enjoy your time at the festival and what was the reaction from audiences?
MO – FrightFest was a dream. Cheesy, but I have no other words to describe it. I was in disbelief the whole time and loved every minute of it. I never thought I would premiere my second short at the Prince Charles Cinema in the heart of London and I am beyond grateful. The audience seems to have responded well to it so far, which made me proud. I hope the reaction will be as positive after the official release.
5) Are there any plans to expand The Game of the Clock into a longer film or further develop its concept in future short films?
MO – I would love to make The Game of the Clock into a feature film and have loads of ideas for it. I’m currently in talks with production companies from overseas who have shown interest in this sense. It’s a very exciting possibility, but nothing is decided yet so I’m trying to keep my feet firmly on the ground.
Thanks to Michele Oliviere for kindly participating in this interview.