‘Downpour’ (2018) – A Rain-Soaked Movie Review

If you’ve been reading PopHorror for awhile, you’ll probably recognize the name Tony Ahedo (you can read our interview with him here). Not only is he the innovative mind behind Barry Baker: Aspiring Serial Killer series, but he’s also been instrumental in helping Filmmaker Ryan Swantek (White Willow 2017, Panther Ridge 2018, 5:29 See The Devil’s Eyes 2018) create his own visions. As a man who has traversed the entire spectrum of movie genres, I had no idea what I would find when he sent me his latest short, Downpour, which won Best Short at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival in Orlando. So, what did I get myself into this time?

Official Synopsis of Downpour:

With a category 4 hurricane imminent, two brothers, Ben and Mark bunker down at home to wait out the storm. When they let a stranger in looking for help, they realize maybe the real danger isn’t outside, but inside with them.

The script was co-written by Director/Editor Tony Ahedo and Barry Baker alum Harrison Stagner, who was also the DoP. The music for the short came from Gothic Lemon and Teach Me Equals, while Team Awesome Sauce (is there any better name than that?) produced. FX Artist Natasha Thornton (Link to the Future 2011) created the blood and gore.

Downpour starts off as a bad camcorder video of someone screwing up plywood and getting a pizza delivered. The guy with the pizza stares curiously into the woods as if he might see something interesting… and then the score kicks in with an unearthly squeal and thrum, and we’re slammed with the title card.

Come to find out, these two guys, brothers Mark (Nathan Jokela: Barry Baker: Aspiring Serial Killer TV series) and Ben (Nick Lennon: Fire on the Green 2016), are the last men standing as a Category 4 hurricane is about to wreak havoc on their little slice of heaven. Everyone else has been evacuated, the electricity is out and the phones are dead. But these two are prepared… they’ve got food, water and even headlamps! Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?

Nathan Jokela and Nick Lennon in ‘Downpour’

I’ll start off by saying that I was really impressed with the lighting, or lack thereof, in Downpour. Despite the fact that the short was mostly filmed in the gloom, the dark/light balance was perfect. I never felt like there was something I was supposed to be seeing but couldn’t because it was hidden in shadow. Everything was either too dark or too light, conditions that make it continually hard to see, so anything – or anyone – could be right in front of you. I have no personal experience in filmmaking, but I can imagine that this is hard to pull off, especially when filming in the dark. Kudos to Mr. Stagner for doing it all so beautifully. I have no idea what Julia was, but the crunching clicks coming from her body were spooky as hell… like the sounds of tiny finger bones snapping, popping and grinding together. The fact that she made the noises so naturally only made them all the more uncomfortable to hear. I’ll never hear the four words, “My car broke down,” the same way again…

I do have to admit that Julia’s teeth were almost absurdly fake looking, and some of the acting in the final chase scene lacked the passion of a life-or-death struggle, but besides that, I really enjoyed Downpour. It was a white water raft ride through a water- and blood-drenched Florida storm surge, and a terrifying answer to that initial question… what’s the worst that can happen?

There’s a feature film of Downpour in the works, so keep the channel tuned to PopHorror for more info on that, as well as all of the horror news, reviews and interviews you could want!

As promised, here’s the award winning short. Give it a watch and let us know what you think in the comments below!

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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A scene from PIGGY, a Magnet release. ©Jorge Fuembuena. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

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