Wannabe DVD Review
Written and directed by James Mannan
2008, Region 1 (NTSC), 19 minutes, Not Rated
Steffani Pieart as Viola
Robert Webster as Andrew
I think anyone setting themselves the challenge of a making a short film is very brave. To try and write a good story that grips an audience in such a small amount of time could seem impossible. The 2008 short film Wannabe is a great example of how it can be successfully achieved. At a run time of only 20 minutes, Wannabe gives a captivating story with a couple of surprising twists that show writer James Mannan could have a bright future in horror.
The film centres on a young girl, Viola (Steffani Pieart), who has been contacting a woman on the internet who claims to be a real life vampire. Viola is an orphan with no close friends and is desperate to join this dark way of life. She accepts the old woman's proposal of changing her into a vampire forever. One night Viola goes to the old lady's house and is greeted by her assistant Andrew (Robert Webster) who makes her give over her belongings as she takes the first steps in to her new life. The film then moves on to Viola's transformation and her submission to vampirism. I wouldn't want to give too much away about the plot at this point as there is too much that would spoil the storyline. Let's just say there are plenty of twists and all is not what it seems to be.
The film is very low budget which is to be expected, but despite this a good plot presents itself straight away with a lot of intrigue. Why would a woman want to give up her life for something so dark? Who is this strange woman who claims to be 183 years old? We are introduced to the vampire who is cloaked in lace and has a raspy voice that is haunting and mysterious. Although I wouldn't go as far as to say it is scary, there are definitely some dramatic and tense situations which is a feat to obtain in a 20 minute film.
The submission scene of Viola to the vampire is set in the basement of a house and it instantly becomes very claustrophobic. There are some graphic sexual scenes and the violence does not hold back, either. Although this is a horror story, there are some deeper themes running here, it explores the nature of the human psyche and the need to want what we can't have. Conveying this through this quite simplistic script is a very good technique and the film does stay with you long after watching it.
Everything about the film is very simplistic, the set is in one location, the lighting is very basic and there are not many actors, but what it lacks in that respect, it makes up for in originality and suspense.
You can't expect a masterpiece creation on this budget and this time frame, however the film was surprisingly good, the story was succinct and had a clear beginning middle and end. It is a great indication of future talent.
Video and Audio:
The audio is clear for the feature but the video is slightly in grainy especially at the beginning. It is shown in aspect ratio 16:9.
There are plenty of extra features for such a short film. There are two audio commentaries from the director and the cast, outtakes, bloopers and a behind the scenes look that proves a good way to see how small independent films get made.