Cinemagic Pictures and Mitch Francis’ 2020 short film, Who Goes There? is a frightening, gasp-inducing horror movie that conjures up images from other demonic-possession classic features. This first-person POV film plays like a found footage film, and though seemingly typical, is shot and performed very well by its small crew.
Who Goes There? follows a husband (Mitch Francis) arriving home and finding that his front door is ajar. As he calls into his darkened home for his wife (Nikita Afonso) and receives no answer he hurries into their bedroom to find her sleeping. Relieved, he settles in, only to find his wife suddenly awake, and then soon after, missing from their bedroom. Her odd behavior begins to alarm him, and he becomes even more alarmed when he begins to see double.
At first, I thought that Who Goes There? was going to shrewdly poke fun at horror tropes, foregoing an obvious opportunity for the initial jumpscare, but then right after, the film falls back on old clichés and ends up giving the audience a mini version of Paranormal Activity (2007). That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as Paranormal Activity is obviously a beloved found footage horror… that sparked much too many sequels. It is not exactly reinventing the wheel with an at-home, possessed wife, handheld camera premise, but at least director Mitch Francis proves that he can fashion this old wheel proficiently.
For a low-budget, independent short film the production quality was a step above shot on video, YouTube quality movies, with Who Goes There? boasting an excellent sound design, framing, and pacing. I did, however, wonder about the choice of filming style and how it fits in with the narrative — I like the first-person view, but it feels like the husband is filming like in a found footage film with a handheld camera, which makes the POV style seem more like a gimmick than something that helps the audience feel immersed like a virtual horror or videogame experience. Otherwise, it is a ‘fun in a scary way’ horror short with jump scares, and it is directed, produced, and performed very well.
Mitch Francis’ short film Who Goes There? is like a fast-food meal for horror fans — it has the familiar taste (visually and narratively) that I like from demonic films, it builds suspense by cleverly skipping the first jumpscare opportunity, and its dark lighting and reliance on natural/synchronous sound more than special sound effects or music made this movie a quick, but terrifyingly effective treat.
MOVIE RATING — 7 out of 10
|WHO GOES THERE?|