Storm (2023) [Beyond Fest 2023]

Apparently “Storm” is something of a proof of concept as much as it is a short horror film and I have to say that I love where it’s headed. Director Lena Tsodykovskaya is a wonderful visual director who is capable of creating something of a really polished horror film. “Storm” is such a great meta-horror movie that I was sucked in from the opening. I don’t know if this concept can be stretched in to a ninety minute horror film, but for what it is “Storm” is a well realized and engaging horror film that smashes the fourth wall.

After being woken up by strange noises in the middle of the night, Isabelle and Malcolm discover an intruder has broken into their home… an intruder unlike anyone has ever seen before. As Isabelle and Malcom desperately try to escape, they finally get a clue of the intruder’s intentions, leading to nothing less than a terrifying resolution to their story.

Basically, “Storm” takes us in to the concept of a horror film where the two main characters know where they are. They know who we are, and what we are, and oddly enough we’re the villain of the piece. Lena Tsodykovskaya kind of brings us in to the hot seat as the voyeur who wants to see how these characters fare, despite them begging us to leave them alone. Director Tsodykovskaya (who has a past in directing commercials and ads) drops us in the classic setting of the middle of the night, in a big house, during a massive storm and a seemingly isolated house in the middle of nowhere.

From there the characters Isabelle and Malcolm become cognizant of their surroundings and the circumstances that they’re in, and there’s not much that either of them can do about it. That is until we decide to stop watching, that is. The great performances by Tara Raani and Justin Tanks are complimented by director Tsodykovskaya’s absolutely dazzling direction. She just sucks us in to her meta-universe where we’re made all too aware of our purpose, while these characters are made abundantly clear of their role in this situation.

“Storm” reminded me a lot of the equally meta horror film “Resolution,” and I hope we get something in the same vein. In any case, “Storm” is a fun and well constructed meta-horror film, one that I hope everyone looks out for at local festivals.

Screening at Beyond Fest 2023 on September 30th at the Los Feliz Theater.