A scene from NATAL.Here’s a quick one. Filmmaker Corey Norman (who previously impressed me with The Barn, and whose feature début, The Hanover House, I’m hotly anticipating), is back with another horror short, Natal.

As with its predecessor, Natal has a fairly simple setup and story: it’s a cabin-in-the-woods horror trip featuring two couples, one member of which (Carissa, the protagonist) may or may not be descending into madness. Whereas The Barn focused largely on atmosphere, Natal is more visceral–which isn’t to say it’s particularly gory, just that it works on a more visceral level. The story is effectively told and solidly paced, although I did feel that the character relationships strayed a little bit too far into cliché territory. That being said, the ensemble–particularly Jessica Fratus as Carissa–is strong enough to keep this from being too much of a problem.

And, as with The Barn, Norman’s direction is great. In addition to his strong visual sense and fantastic location use, I was particularly impressed with his powerful use of montage and Foley to portray emotional distress. This is one of the most effective uses of sound effects I’ve yet experienced–right up there with Berberian Sound Studio.

Natal has started making the rounds–it’s part of the 2013 Damnationland slate, and I’m sure it’ll show up at further screenings and festivals. If you get a chance to check it out, take that opportunity. You’re welcome.

United States. 27 minutes. Directed by Corey Norman. Starring Jessica Fratus, Chara Victoria Gannett, Erik Moody, Andrew Sawyer.

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