‘Satanico’ | Short Film Review | Patrick Beatty Reviews

Directed By: J.R. Curtis
Written By: J.R. Curtis

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Runtime: 14 minutes

Starring: Ayden Tyler Hatch, J.R. Curtis, Shane Morrisun

Satanico is a short horror film directed and written by J.R. Curtis that focuses on two outlaws who have to face dire consequences for stealing gold off of a bounty. With director/writer J.R. Curtis in the helm of acting alongside Ayden Hatch, Satanico makes for a meaty watch and shows what is obtainable with a low budget.

From the get-go, the thing that stood out to me the most is the cinematography and usage of ambient lighting. A majority of the film is dark and cold, but the subjects are often lit up by campfire or by torches held by our protagonists. It makes for a moody viewing experience that pairs well with the music as well. If the isolated, cold, snowy weather in this film doesn’t set the tone, then the music will establish it just right for you. 

The build-up to the core of the story is evenly paced and throughout the entirety of the film. There feels like a suspenseful tension from unseen forces that attempts to break the surface as the story goes on. Although there are some moments where the anticipation breaks due to wordy exchanges between characters, it picks back up with suspenseful events to follow. 

The simplicity of the locations and the low-budget special effects add plenty of creepy nuance to the story. There are a few shots of great makeup design, and the low lighting of the environment compliment it well. The simplistic approach to the short film also enhances the creature design known as The Sentry, which is what the undertone of suspense throughout ultimately leads to the reveal. I thought the creature’s conception is compelling and creepy. 

With all that said, I wish the short film was a tad bit longer to explore the mythos of The Sentry and the curse of the gold that the outlaws stole. The short film sort of ends with no real resolution to the climax. It doesn’t offer any other insight, and I think it could have benefitted from exploring more into the horrors that the characters faced. I would be interested in knowing if J.R. Curtis, and the team, plan to expand the story into a feature-length project to explore the possibilities.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Overall, I admire the low-budget approach to Satanico and give the film 3.5/5 stars. 

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