Directed by Justin Romine
Clocking in at just over sixteen minutes, What They Say is not a feel good story. It won’t make you smile and it certainly won’t help you have a good night’s sleep. It’s a gory, unsettling tale that attacks you from start to finish. The great Stephen King once said of his books, “..the sort of book I do.. should be a kind of personal assault.”
With What They Say, director Justin Romine certainly follows The King’s words.
The film follows a young woman (played by Heather Dorff, who also produced the film) tormented by inner demons. Having lost her father at a young age, the woman struggles to maintain her sanity in a world overflowing with superficial facades and gossip mongers. Pain, rage and depression are omnipresent themes in this short and I am hard pressed to name another actress who could have pulled off this role as fiercely as Dorff does.
When the woman begins to find solace in cutting herself, it’s a hard watch but so captivating, I found myself unable to look away. Like her father before her, the woman succumbs to a very troubling epidemic that still runs rampant in our society today.
The film is visually beautiful- the shots are tight, the cinematography is crisp and vibrant. The editing and visual effects by Radek Michalik are top notch. Romine does a fantastic job of bringing such a heavy script to life.
Dorff and co-star Kelsey Zukowski constructed a solid script based on an original story that features excellent dialogue throughout from Dorff’s character, who serves as the film’s narrator.
As her demons begin to engulf her, there is a genuine scare in the film that made me jump in my seat. Special effects provided by Joe Mistretta and Sean Jaster are excellent, if not disturbing to say the least.
What They Say is a true horror film- one that does not let up and will linger with you for a while after viewing it. As the project begins making the film festival rounds, it comes as no surprise that it is already one of the most decorated, award-winning shorts of the year.