Doug Bradley, Phil Gwilliam
"A Hand to Play" Stars Doug Bradley
If you have any doubt that an actor can truly make a difference in a film, then all you need to do is watch the short film A Hand to Play starring an absolutely terrific Doug Bradley. Bradley, known to audiences far and wide for his appearances in the Hellraiser films, is both chilling and charming as Mr. Trent, an employer with the kind of aura that practically screams out "Don't mess with me." Joe (Phil Gwilliam) does mess with him, a decision that lands him with his hand strapped to a table facing the wrath of someone determined to prove it was a very bad choice.
This 12-minute crime thriller is filled with suspense and anxiety courtesy of a calm yet pointed script from screenwriter Paul McGowan and the sharp, disciplined direction of Mike Clarke. While the film seems like it's going to play out predictably, both McGowan and Clarke weave together some terrific touches before a well played climax.
Clarke lenses the film with an uneasy comfort that you just know is deceptive, while Chris Cronin's editing may seem relaxed but it fits the film's tone quite nicely. Joel Catchatoor's original music adds to the tension quite nicely.
A Hand to Play is just getting its start on the film festival circuit and should have no problem finding a home amongst indie and horror film festivals.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic