One sign of a successful short film is when it has the ability to make the audience feel something in a limited runtime. Jill Gevargizian’s short horror film, 42 Counts, does just this in merely 8 minutes. With an outstanding soundtrack, well-shot scenes and great performances, 42 Counts is a thrill ride from start to finish.
Opening with edgy guitar riffs, the camera pans around to Alicia (Najarra Townsend: Contracted (2013), The Stylist2016) and Ava (Andrea Dover: Mysterious Munson Murder 2014) as they watch a film on a projection screen in the comfort of an impressive loft rented from their boss. Noticing something peculiar about a smoke detector, the girls uncover an unnerving secret within the walls of this apartment. This discovery leads to an alarming revelation that they are not alone.
Based on a true story that can be read in our interview with Jill Gevargizian, 42 Counts pays outstanding attention to every detail with a gritty soundtrack that is key in pulling off the suspense. Paired with smooth camera movements and excellent, carefully framed shots, this stylistic film keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Townsend and Dover have a great chemistry and give fantastic performances. They are quite believable as roommates whose unnerving curiosity turns to shock upon a traumatic revelation. Both women skillfully depict the emotional turmoil of being violated as they uncover a perverted truth. Sam Williamson gives another outstanding performance as the film’s antagonist. Although he has no audible lines, Williamson is the cherry on the top of this perverted sundae, leaving a massive impression as the large, shadowy figure in the film’s climax.
42 Counts continues to make its rounds in the film festival circuit, including a showing at the Toronto True Crime Film Festival on June 9th. With news of Gevargizian’s short, The Stylist, getting a full-feature treatment, I can only hope that a full length version of this suspenseful, short will not be too far behind. Regardless, 42 Counts is just a taste of Gevargizian’s talent as a filmmaker, and I look forward to seeing more of her work as she enters the next step of creating full length features!