Before Twelve Synopsis: A woman and her family fight for their lives when they meet face to face with the entity responsible for human suffering.
Tagline: Your nights will never be the same
Written & Directed By: Milton Dewar
Starring: Thea McCartan, Christina Shipp
Release Date: 02/2005 | Uploaded Date: 08/22/2016 | Runtime: 24 min. | Coolthulhus Earned: 3
Before Twelve has the distinction of being the first horror short to be reviewed here at Sci-Fi & Scary. I’ve mentioned them before in the trivia sections of This is Horror but this is the first full-on review. It also seems to be an early film for all involved so even grinchy old me will go a little easier on it.
The concept of Before Twelve was pretty interesting. The basic idea is that 666 breaks down into 18 = 18 hours of the day belong to people but the hours between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. belong to the powers of evil. It’s an interesting idea and I could see it being a decent movie hook if expanded properly.
The direction, editing and scoring for Before Twelve are very good. There are no extra scenes to drag it out and each scene is very clear in its purpose. The cinematography, while not stunning, is very capable. And really, there’s only so much you can do with city and house scenes. There’s just not much to work with.
The Entity is kind of your basic hooded figure and the camera has no trouble showing it. However (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) this might be a movie where a little more mystery would have been better. Thea McCartan and Christina Shipp as sisters Diane and Heather are a little awkward together but it works for the short.
There are a few issues with Before Twelve, however. The quality seems as though a low-grade film was used and then coupled with a blue filter for night. I could be wrong but in one scene where it’s supposed to be night, the window behind Heather is lit up like it’s mid-afternoon. So they either have one heck of a security light or aliens are landing.
Unfortunately the character who carries much of the story is Heather. I’m sure Ms. Shipp has improved as an actress (this was her first role) so, again, I’m not going to be too harsh but her performance just wasn’t very convincing. Even while telling her sister of an upsetting experience she has a very flat voice with no real emotion to it. Thea McCartan as the older sister, Diane did quite well for it being her first outing as well. The worst that I can say is (and this could be something in the sound department) that while her words are clear, there’s this weird clicking noise that sounds exactly like she has a cough drop or candy in her mouth.
All in all, Before Twelve is an enjoyable watch. I have to admit that I’ve seen better but I’ve also seen much, much worse. If you have a spare twenty minutes I suggest giving it a watch.
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.