Amanda Ayres, Christin Easterling, and Karen Overstreet
"Hopscotch" a Nice, Simmering Horror Short
A low-budget horror short directed by Kirsten Walsh, the 26-minute Hopscotch centers around Bridget (Amanda Ayres), an escort who arrives from out of town and meets up with Jolene (Christin Easterling), an obvious underling to the far more confident Rebecca (Karen Overstreet). As it turns out, Bridget and Jolene's paths have crossed before and it's that crossing that sets up quite nicely the initial meeting between this semi-seductive and semi-menacing trio.
A good amount of the film's running time is spent on a psychological build-up that does, at least somewhat, have a rather interesting pay-off in the film's final few minutes. There's a dance, if you will, of power and intrigue that goes on between the ladies and how it unfolds may not necessarily be surprising but it is nicely played out by the film's ensemble cast.
While the performances are fine and the film's lensing is occasionally quite impressive, Hopscotch is more of a thriller than an actual horror despite the last few moments that try to make up for lost time. The dialogue, penned by Christian Nelson, isn't particularly involving and the plot structure feels like it's one of those films where you sit there watching it assuming that scenes have been cut out. Unfortunately, this being a 26-minute short such a scenario is unlikely and the film simply doesn't feel complete or satisfying.
While the film's lensing clearly does indicate Walsh's promise as a director, the film's low-budget nature is evident throughout with low-level sound mix issues that are more than a little distracting due to the film's dialogue heavy script and the amount of tension needed between Rebecca and Bridget.
Ultimately, Hopscotch is more of a promising debut than a fulfillment of that promise. The recently finished film may very well find a home on the indie/underground fest circuit, but its long-term prospects are limited.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic