Duffield’s – Two Nights Only is a short film about a possessed goat turned Halloween spectacle written and directed by Jason-Christopher Mayer and Chris Palko. After some visual foreshadowing of a goat farm and setting sun, we cut to Chuck and his friend encountering a bearded man with a nondescript eastern European accent handing out fliers to see a goat that will possess anyone that looks in its eyes. Having nothing better to do on Halloween, Chuck, his friend, and two girls set out to find the goat but notice an ominous hooded figure on the side of the road. Thinking nothing of it given that it’s Halloween and all, they press on to the farm and the night just goes downhill from there. Duffield’s is a perfectly acceptable short with a few standout elements, including the original score created by Mayer himself, which features foreboding horns and percussion, and some creative editing, especially towards the climax. The performances are fine but the lack of character development doesn’t give the viewer much stake in their well-being, with only one character getting so much as a name. The first 2/3rds of the short is basically set-up and when the climax comes there is some action and intrigue, though the rapid-fire twists in the last 30 seconds feel like they come out of nowhere and aren’t given much room to breathe.
With nearly all of the behind the camera work being done by Mayer and Palko, Duffield’s shows a lot of promise for what they are capable of but as a short, it doesn’t do much to set itself apart from the pack. Perhaps a more extended version that expanded upon some of the ideas that are touched on in the climax with more time spent on crafting characters that we care about could make for a more satisfying experience.