Survivor Type (2012)

So you saw “The Dark Tower” and were meh on it, but then you saw “IT” and were all over it.  As “Mr. Mercedes” is available for streaming and “Gerald’s Game” is coming soon, how else is a die hard Stephen King fan supposed to satiate their thirst, their need? Shorts, of course.  After watching tons of Stephen King short film adaptations, one of them stands out head and shoulders above the rest and every fan should make it a point to find it and see it.

Writer/director Billy Hanson took the story by Stephen King and adapted it into a short film.  This is not the exceptional part as a few others have also adapted this story into short film form, but Hanson’s is the one that is done the best and with chilling results, something the others watched did not quite achieve, or at least not on the same level.  Here Hanson takes the story, writes it his own way but stays close enough to the material, and creates something that gets under the skin.  Of course the source material is there for a lot, but as others have done adaptations and not reached this level of skin-crawling, this one has something special and it is most likely due to Billy Hanson’s great talent.

The cast is also there for a lot, mainly the lead Gideon Emery as Richard Pine, the shipwrecked man who will go to extremes to survive.  His portrayal of the man slowly losing his mind and resorting to the unthinkable grabs the audience and doesn’t let them go.  The fact that he is alone for the majority of the film’s runtime gives him a lot of time to make an impression and damn does he make one.  His portrayal is, in short, amazing.  He gives his character a lot of depth and nuances as his insanity grows and grows.  The way he handles some seriously hard scenes is fantastic.

Supporting him in a more direct way than the rest of the cast who we barely get to see are the special effects by Doug Murphy with visual effects by Jack Hamilton and Cole Jennerson.  These effects are very important to the story and the fact that they still work 5 years later shows they were designed simply yet effectively, something that stays looking good longer than flashy, fashionable effects that often age horribly.  The effects are just enough in your face to make each viewer feel a bit grossed out and thoroughly unnerved as the film advances and the lead’s state gets worse and worse.

Survivor Type is a simple story that is adapted in an unnerving way in this short.  The story and its archetype is something seen many times before, however Survivor Type is one of the best cinematic versions out there.  Billy Hanson took a specific story that has been adapted before and made something truly memorable out his version.  The last scene of this short sends a shivers down the spine and makes the whole film stick in the viewer’s mind long after it’s over, something that is hard to do these days and is most appreciated by horror fans.  Survivor Type is a short to look for and support in any way one can in the hopes Billy Hanson can unleash another spine-tingling short on the horror community’s eyeballs.