Assistance

A nightshift clerk encounters a strange woman looking for assistance.

Genre: Horror

Length: 8:06

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3.5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Christian Gillis, Anthony Gillis

Director/s : Christian Gillis, 

Writer/s : Anthony Gillis, 

Actor/s : Girolamo Bria, Laura von Frankenberg

 

Customer from hell

If you’re in a horror film there are three locations you don’t want to be. The cellar, obviously. Your own bedroom, of course. Then comes the late-night corner shop, open to whatever roams the night outside.

The weird customer wears a plain white coat, a scarf over her head, gloves, and huge black sunglasses. She asks for “Assistance”, not to find a bottle of Burgundy, but to lure the clerk outside. He won’t leave the store, either because he’s conscientious or because he’s seen enough horror movies to know he’s in peril.

There are some nice touches here, like the distant light on the woman’s white coat slowly increasing as she waits for a customer to leave the shop. With her amazingly strong facial features, Laura von Frankenberg is as well cast for horror as she is named. She delivers her lines with the emotion of a malevolent robot.

There’s a sub-genre of horror films: those made not to scare but as an exercise in weird creepiness. It matches a sub-category of fans, who want a few minutes of weird creepiness more than scares. These films do not have to be strong on story or theme, and are possibly motivated by a director’s desire to “do” horror. Replicating the tricks of the genre is an accepted way of showing directorial competence.

And while Assistant is undoubtedly competent, it pushes no boundaries. It hovers in the midrange between weird and creepy, and rests well below scary. There are lot of such films around, and sadly, director Christian Gillis doesn’t bring any extra level of flair and originality that might lift its head above the crowd. With no jump scares, there’s nothing here that leaps out at you.