Sometimes, the most haunting things exist within us. They are found within our dark spaces, traumatic memories and unshakeable pasts. While much of American horror exists within the realm of torture porn and extreme gore, there's an entire world of indie horror that transcends the genre in fine fashion by crafting a different kind of horror film that explores the stark humanity of the horrific self.
In this case, the "world" is Israel and the film is The Plan,
one of the true indie horror highlights for 2012 with a story that is compelling, visuals that are arresting, characters that are unforgettable and an overall production package that plays with your psyche' long after the closing credits have rolled.
In a mere 13 minutes, director Daniel Fallik manages to create a far more satisfying cinematic endeavor than one can find in a good majority of today's full-length horror features. He does so by creating a story, co-written by the film's producer Yotam Motzafi, that grabs hold of you in its opening seconds and leaves you mesmerized from beginning to end without ever delving into the usual horror gimmicks of overt gore and violence.
Ben, dually played by Yahav Winner and Ben Boaz Tzur, is an obviously haunted man whose presence exudes a sense of loss and emptiness. He's an obvious shell of his former self, a self-abusive man struggling to come to terms with one particular day in his past that has continued to haunt him and seemingly threatens to destroy him. Ben is unable to reconcile a choice he made in his past, and his failure to reconcile has led him down a path of broken dreams and an uncomfortably numbing presence.
Ben is played without the benefit of true spoken dialogue, though a spoken voice-over often accompanies the film in a tone that is on the edge of monotony yet dripping with pieces of regret and resignation. Both Yahav Winner and Ben Boaz Tzur bring him beautifully to life, or at least beautifully in the most aching sense of the word. It's nearly impossible to not feel deeply for this young man, a man whose very being seems to have become swallowed up in his past.
Jonny Wexler and Yasha Soffer are also excellent in supporting roles, their presence also radiating the film's sense of foreboding and melancholy. Soffer, in particular, is so quietly intense that even his body language lingers long after the film has ended.
is also one of the most beautifully photographed short films of 2012, with D.P. Nir Darvasi having created images that somehow weave together both beauty and trauma with equal impact. Whether existing in a diner, an apartment or the Israeli desert, The Plan
is so relentless in the way it possesses you that it's easy to understand how Ben has become so captured himself by these warped memories, images and scenes playing over and over again in his mind.
was only recently completed and is currently being submitted to film festivals worldwide. It should have quite literally no problem attracting festival attention amongst both the horror genre and the indie film fest scene. Kudos must also be given for Assaf Ohayon's stellar art direction, Yaniv Raveh's excellent original composition and Fallik's own editing that paces the film to maximum effect.
For more information on The Plan,
be sure to visit the film's website linked to in the credits to the left of this review. If The Plan
shows up at a film festival near you, it's most definitely a film you will want to see and you surely won't forget.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic