‘Love Spell’ (2020) | Indie Review | Patrick Beatty Reviews

Love Spell is a short fantasy thriller, directed and written by Emily Robyn Clark, revolving around a married couple who come across a ring and a mirror, which turns out to have once belonged to a King and Queen in an unknown era. They find out these artifacts have more to them than they appear, and they not only have to try and save their marriage but also themselves.

For being a low-budget film, I thought the filmmakers and talent did a good job of portraying different timelines. On one hand, we have an era of Monarchy, where the production design and costumes for the period are spectacular, plus shooting something this low-budget means you have to be creative and shoot smart to avoid showing any relevance of being in the present. I bring that up because there are a few locations that I recognized (being a Utah native) and was more than surprised to see the locations converted to fit a different time era. Not to mention, these scenes tended to lend to the film feeling fantastical, which I will cover in the next paragraph. On the other hand, we have sequences that are set in the present moment when we are introduced to the married couple, and it was fun to see how they went about the locations for those sequences. 

Where the short film is at its peak is in the second act as it goes back and forth between the timelines once the couple picks up the artifacts. The second these cursed items start having a toll on their relationship, the film crosses boundaries with the horror genre and introduces a few jarring sequences that are rather unexpected. The short film sets itself up to be a fantasy love story, and then pulls a hard right and subverts into a whole different direction. Seeing this got me invested in the overall situation to the end. 

I felt the married couple presented in the short film had their shortcomings long before they came across the ring and the mirror. There isn’t a connection between the two. With certain interactions they have, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would have been better off leaving each other in the first place. At times, these cursed artifacts were, more often than not, a blessing in disguise by forcing the two to part ways and reconcile. What it boils down to is the lack of motivation from the married couple, because their counterparts, who we see early on in the short film, have motivation for cursing the objects, and I tended to believe their chemistry more than the present couple. I was half-expecting to see a pay-off with each event in the past and present shadowing each other, but what we get is more circumstantial by random choosing. There could have been more of an impact if each couple related to the other in some form or another.  

Overall, Love Spell works best when it subverts expectations and has fun with weaving the storylines together from past to present to create a surreal experience by the end. When it goes this route, it raises the stakes for the married couple and gives them the motivation they seemed to have lacked from the beginning. Save for the few nitpicky things with certain character decisions, or some scenes that could have been omitted, Love Spell has a story to tell and took me to places I was not expecting. For the parts that are predictable, the short film more than makes up for that by introducing elements and having fun with genre-blending. 

‘Love Spell’ Gets 3/5 Stars

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