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The Independent Critic

Ian Batt, Sarah Mitich, Justin Duke
Colin Berry
9 Mins.

 "Prick" a Disturbing and Thought-Provoking Horror Short 
Writer/director Colin Berry's first film, the horror short Prick, has already had quite the year after its 2011 world premiere at Toronto's After Dark Film Festival and being named Lair of Filth's Best Short of 2011. It's no wonder the film is proving to be wildly popular - Prick is an extraordinarily suspenseful and affecting film centering around one man, Leonard Knack (Ian Batt), a seemingly normal chap going about his ordinary day. The only thing is that what seems ordinary actually is far from it - Knack is an expert in the art of serial killing with a mind as out of joint as his deadly actions. What has become run-of-the-mill for him, however, takes on a new twist when he has what seems unfathomable - a moment of empathy.

Prick accomplishes more in the matter of nine minutes than many full-length features, mostly owing to Berry's patient direction and his refusal to cater to the usual Hollywood approach of in-your-face obviousness and gore. Instead, Berry has crafted a film that relies on the physicality of its characters, atmosphere, an exceptional score and the ability of lead Ian Batt to convey the film's entire story without uttering a single word.

That's right. Prick exists without dialogue, instead telling its story through the power of its visuals and the remarkably expressive physical being and facial expressions of Batt. It takes us a moment to capture exactly what's going on with Leonard Knack, and even if we do we're not quite sure where all of this is going.

The suspense is in the "not knowing," and the "not knowing" is powerful from beginning to end.

In addition to Batt's fantastic performance, Sara Mitich shines as a beautiful woman who falls victim to Knack.

Or does she?

The mystery is still in my mind.

D.P. Spencer Gray's camera work is exceptional, especially when you consider that the film was shot on an incredibly modest $2,000 production budget. If this is an example of what Berry can accomplish for a couple grand, I can't wait to see his first well funded film.

For more information on the film, visit its Facebook page listed in the credits to the left.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic