At just under a VERY brisk twelve minutes, co-writer/director Chase Michael Pallante’s DEFARIOUS registers more as something that would be part of a ‘demo reel’ for him and his crew, than it does as a fully realized little movie unto itself.
There really isn’t much to it plotwise. Amy (JANET MIRANDA) wakes up in the middle of the night, fearing being stalked and slashed by a mysterious clown figure (JASON TORRES). In the end, the clown gets her, SCREAM-style, and she’s brutally murdered.
Or IS she?
So it feels like the first ten or so minutes of what’s probably going to be a SCREAM knockoff, except that there’s nothing else beyond it. That’s the bad news. The good? First of all, the score and the sound design. Kudos to Jonathan Martinez, for coming up with music every bit as good as anything Marco Beltrami did for that franchise. And Pallante, together with Jose Julian Santiago, did a helluva job on the sound design. In fact, these two elements alone are so outstanding, you almost think they belong in another movie.
And the special effects design by Greer Gillespie. That’s a name you might want to memorize, because as minimal as the effects are until near the end, what you do get is jaw-dropping, and I will say no more than that. DP and cinematographer Jorge Canaveral and Christian Reyes respectively, do very well working with light and shadow in the limited space where all the action happens. Miranda and Torres are serviceable as victim and stalker, since what they’re doing is pretty straightforward stuff.
To sum it up, DEFARIOUS makes a great calling card for Pallante and everyone involved. I would LOVE to see what they’ll do with a decent budget and a fully-realized script. Two and a half out of five stars.