A few days ago, we shared with our Facebook followers the newest horror short from Filmmaker Ryan Swantek (read our interview with him here), the man behind one of my favorite shorts ever, White Willow (2017 – read our review here), and his sophomoric effort, Panther Ridge (2018 – read our review here). 5:29 See the Devil’s Eyes is Ryan’s third go at the director’s chair, and it is a beautiful piece of filmography. Watch the film below, and then read on to find out more about the short in the director’s own words…
A message from Ryan Swantek about his third horror short, 5:29 See the Devil’s Eyes:
5:29 See the Devil’s Eyes is a very short idea I’ve had for some time. I just wasn’t sure how to use it. I knew I wanted it to be really short, and it was originally heading for the three minute mark, but that was still way too long for me. I wanted to keep people’s attention while delivering something that still had meaning and depth. Helping me make this short were my good friends: Jeremy Teran, who worked on Panther Ridge as director of photography, and FX Artist Karl Huber, who took on the special effects VFX this time around. While searching for an actress, Karl recommended Tampa model/actress Kaylee Giza, who was an absolute trooper. I couldn’t have asked for a better team on this.
“I wanted to keep people’s attention while delivering something that still had meaning and depth.”
The name of the short comes from the Bible passage Matthew 5:29, which states, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into Hell.” I went to a Catholic school for nine years of my life, and it’s funny, because not once was that verse – or any other like it – covered. We heard all the good stories about God’s love for his people, but very rarely did we cover any of the darker themes, and if we did, they were explained in a way that didn’t make them sound so violent and atrocious.
I remember in 4th grade when talking about mortal sins, I asked the teacher what happened to soldiers who killed others in war. Her answer was something along the lines of, “That’s a great question, and we’re going to cover it soon.” We never covered it, to say the least. 5:29 See the Devil’s Eyes is basically the Devil taunting God’s word. You’ll notice in the credits that Kaylee is credited as Unclean Spirit, which is a type of demon in the Bible that can possess a human host and cause them harm or sickness.
While this is a pretty short film, it is still a very personal piece to me, as are all of my films. Some people might say that my films are just violence and gore, which is perfectly fine, because everyone is allowed to have their own opinions. I’ll never tell anyone how they should feel or interpret my films. That’s up to the viewer, but there is a lot more going on than just violence.
As for my future projects, I’m currently working on another short film. I also have a feature film I’ve been playing around with for a few years, which I’ve been fine tuning and rewriting. It focuses on four college students from Sarasota on spring break who are abducted by the Mexican drug cartel. I’ve been working on it for about as long as I have Panther Ridge – which I plan on making into a feature as well. Both are still in the early stages of development, so I don’t want to say too much just yet. I’m really just trying to keep pushing forward and always do something different. I don’t want to be considered one type of filmmaker.
Be sure to check out Ryan’s other two shorts, which are available here (White Willow) and here (Panther Ridge). Keep checking back to PopHorror for more news on Ryan and his upcoming projects!