Jack (Paul Payne) is having a hard time accepting his separation from his wife, keeping her belongings hostage hoping she’ll come back to pick them up and give him a second chance. That day has nearly come but following a restless night of unexplained noises coming from behind his bedroom door, he meets Karen (Lee Lawson), a friendly neighbor looking to form a neighborhood watch in the wake of a string of break-ins. There isn’t much more to A Noise That Carries than that, as director Guillermo de la Rosa takes a barebones premise and transforms it into something surprisingly chilling through striking visual choices and a haunting performance from Lawson.
De la Rosa takes a painterly approach to lighting his scenes with his focus typically surrounded by darkness with sharp rim lighting and contrasting hues. This lends the short a heightened theatrical aesthetic which isn’t quite convincing but gives the otherwise mundane setting a greater sense of presence. The edits are quick and the camera sticks close to our characters, giving ample opportunity for horrific things to appear suddenly. A Noise That Carries excels in straddling this line in realism with its horror coming from its ability to distort the ordinary into something grotesque and menacing. Payne’s performance can come off as flat but it’s justified given his character’s depressive state and it allows for Lawson’s unhinged weirdness to shine.
A Noise That Carries does a lot with a little. There aren’t any effects or set pieces and the premise is familiar but the presentation transforms these elements into something silently horrifying. Between the striking visuals and persistent sense of unease, it’s a short that kept my attention throughout.
7 out of 10