Mental health is something that affects us all, especially during times like these where we are dealing with a pandemic. That is why Shackles, the new short by filmmaker and fellow PopHorror writer Jason Burke, is not only moving but necessary.
The film is only 12 minutes long, has no dialogue and stars just two actors. Since we value quality over quantity here at PopHorror, we’re here to say that Shackles delivers the quality. I found the short film to be open for interpretation, There are no lines, for example, just a haunting piano that plays in the background for the duration of the film. I found the starkness of the scenes to amplify the emotion happening within them.
My personal interpretation is that Burke is portraying someone silently and daily battling his own personal demons. I do not know if the movie comes from personal experience, but I believe this is something that many of us can relate to, and that is why the value of this work is so high.
Shackles saw its official release on February 27, 2021, and you can find the link to stream it at the bottom of this article. The film stars Jason Burke (The Limbo Cafe 2020) and actor Caitlyn Delien. The two share a beautiful chemistry that is at times combative as they work toward their final battle. I would be interested in seeing what could happen if the film, which was originally 3 minutes longer, were to be made into a full feature. It is fascinating to me that such mood, emotion and message can be captured by a small cast and crew (3 people total), a $0 budget, and completed within a few hours, as was the case with Shackles. The film was shot entirely in Burke’s own home only conveys emotion.
If you are a fan of silent films or film Noire, you will probably enjoy this short horror/drama. I am excited to see more from Jason Burke, and you can check out his YouTube channel at Stylesclash4life. This pandemic has stirred the creative juices of so many talented artists with something to say, and Shackles proves that a camera and some motivation are all that’s needed to pursue your passions, even when you are literally being kept inside your home and need to distance yourself from others.
I spoke to Jason, and he told me he “hopes [Shackles] helps people.” I’m certain it will, and I hope the film inspires young filmmakers and other artists who may be struggling to find their voice and vision. I am quite sure we will be seeing a lot more from him as time goes on, and I hope we will have the pleasure of reviewing more of his films.