FILM: Suffer the Little Children

Certificate: Unrated
Running Time: 25 mins
Director: Corey Norman
Starring: Anne Bobby
Genre: Short, Horror, Thriller
Country: USA

Taking its name from the Stephen King short story (not to mention anyone who has a “proud parent” as a Facebook friend), Suffer the Little Children is a short film with some big boots.  Only just this weekend it picked up Best Short Film and Best Actress at HorrorHound Film Festival in Indianapolis... and there will be plenty more to come.
Yes it's like Hangin' With Mr. Cooper... if Mr. Cooper went a little
"All work and no play makes Jack a..."

In the twilight of her teaching career, Ms. Sidley (Bobby) slips into a state of emotional instability as she suspects that something hideously evil has taken over the kids of her class.  Driven by paranoia and self-preservation, Sidley takes matters into her own hands.

Not since Familiar [here] some three years ago has a short film taken me to the point beyond 1. the edge of my seat or 2. the edge of my wits.  What Corey and Haley Norman, as director and writer respectively, have done is construct a narrative that is so claustrophobic and stripped back to the essentials of emotional storytelling that the twenty-five minutes running time has moments of genuine unease.  Anne Bobby’s performance as Sidley is great, gradual and peppered with moments that demonstrate just how the trickle-effect of mental illness works.  Similarly, Haley Norman’s script tackles real big picture issues like mental health care and gun control without shoving the discussion down people’s throats.  It unravels smoothly against the confines of the genre with a naturalistic charm that showcases a rare, and beautifully formed gift.
"She just keeps posting baby pictures!  There's thousands of them!!"
Visually Suffer the Little Children is a step up.  Two floors above that of the short film aesthetic… hell, it’s a good Malkovich one-and-a-half floors above many feature films.  Honestly, watch fifty-percent of what’s made it to the multiplexes during the summer months and try to sell me that it looks better than this!  The use of light, shade and shadow flirts wonderfully with a psychological realism that’s been lost of late in the Thriller/Horror genre.

Suffer the Little Children will be playing exclusively on the film festival circuit so there’s no VoD, Netflix or Hulu to point you towards.  I will say this though, if there is a chance that StLC is playing at a Horror/Thriller/Film Festival either in your city or a neighbouring city any time soon, you owe it to yourself to drop what you’re doing, pull a Nicolas Cage and phone it in because it’s a powerfully prophetic film that’s not to be missed.


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