“As a child, I never imagined that all of the real monsters of the world would be humans”. This is both a quote by Mobeen Hakeem and the opening line in the short film Red Light. This statement beautifully captures this dark and twisted masterpiece which shows the darker side of humanity.
Within the first few minutes I was instantly uncomfortable and I am sure this was the desired effect. Five 20-somethings are on their way to a trendy “secret” party and while attempting to figure out the party’s location, they stumble upon a homeless man in need of assistance. Not only do they neglect the man, but they take it one step further and mock and degrade him. From there, the film quickly unravels into a series of horrors of which only humanity is truly capable.
In only 10 minutes, Red Light touches on real horrors such as homelessness, neglect, selfishness, vanity, kidnap, and murder. As each of these acts was brought to life on the screen I was constantly brought back to that first quote and how it truly relates to what is unfolding before me.
The 20-somethings have another run in, this time with a character with a little more malice in his heart. The tables turn and the party hopefuls find themselves in an equally secret (albeit far more terrifying) destination. The idea of a creepy stoic man preying on entitled/rude young people is certainly not an original idea. However, Alex Kahuam and Daniel Kuhlman have taken a very familiar horror trope and put a unique spin on it, making Red Light a fresh and exciting experience.
As the name suggests, the color red is very present throughout the film in more ways than one. In addition to red, Red Light makes stunning uses of blue and yellow (especially in the home of our sadistic antagonist). The use of these saturated colors evoked a complicated amalgamation of emotions. There is love, and sadness, closeness, and distance, all at the same time. And seeing all these colors together is reminiscent of a horrific funhouse of sorts. I think there is a lot of potential here for a feature-length film and definitely would love to see more from writing duo Kahuam and Kuhlman.
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