The Blue Door

Facebook can be an interesting place.  Sometimes fascinating people come to your attention, people that would never be amongst your circle in your ordinary life. One such person is Megan Pugh. Garry had a brief conversation with Megan on a Facebook group that led to a chat about BAFTA nominated Short – The Blue Door (that Megan co-wrote). Obviously, it piqued Garry’s interest so together with friend of the website, Chelsea they set out to watch and review The Blue Door

Introduction To The Blue Door

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The Blue Door is a 9-minute-long horror short, directed by Paul Taylor with screen play by Ben Clark and Megan Pugh.  It made its debut in 2017 and became a Bafta nominated short in 2019.

A private nurse (Gemma Whelan) arrives at a spooky house (when are houses in horror films not spooky?) to look after an elderly bed ridden woman.  Whilst carrying out routine care duties the nurse is surprised, and surprise quickly turns to fear…

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The Script/Screenplay

Rating 9 out of 10

9 out of 10

 

Shorts are used by new writers, directors and producers to signal intent and also by major studios to explore creative avenues and talent (at minimal expense).  So, enter relatively new writers Ben Clark and Megan Pugh, who together with Director Paul Taylor create The Blue Door.

When done right, shorts can be some of the most thought provoking and engaging pieces of film making.  By its very definition a ‘short’ has the extremely difficult job of conveying a concise story with a beginning, middle and end, all within a limited time frame.  Therefore, character development and subplots are often omitted. This leaves the viewer to fill in the gaps and make several assumptions about what’s going on within the first few minutes. Some assumptions turn out to be correct, others not so much.

What Clark and Pugh have done is craft a short that uses no words. This forces the viewer to quickly piece together what is going and make those aforementioned assumptions and open up questions in your mind. For example, who last fed the woman? Who left all the dirty dishes for the nurse to clean up? Why is the nurse snooping around the house?

This works on two levels; the first is just your mind making sense of what’s happening on screen.  The second is the slow reveal of key clues to what is happening and this is where the genius of Clark and Pugh’s writing comes into play.  Interwoven between the nurse’s routine chores are small details, some are obviously revealed (such as a tattoo) and some are hidden in plain sight (walking sticks?)

You know The Blue Door is touted as a horror short, so there is some expectation that something is going to happen, and Clark and Pugh’s playfulness with the clues provide a  build-up of tension that  increases at a steady rate, never in haste but at exactly the right speed! They have obviously put a lot of thought into how this particular storyline should be carried out. All of this crafted without a single piece of dialogue.

Standout Casting

Rating 10 out of 10

10 out of 10

Gemma Whelan

As with all films the casting of the lead role is pivotal for a project’s success. The creative team have cast Gemma Whelan as the star of the short. Any previous image of Whelan as a comedic actress (she’s genuinely brilliant in upstart crow!) soon disappeared. The lack of spoken word meant that Whelan had to convey all emotion and drama visually. Director Paul Taylor and Whelan found a way to make it work through facial expressions and subtle hand movements. It was executed very well indeed. It seems the creative team found exactly the right lead and Whelan found a new creative outlet to showcase her talent.

Sound/Music/Score

Rating 10 out of 10

10 out of 10

Steve Dunne has provided his talents to the production of The Blue Door.   Using the tried and tested Horror music template Dunne starts by introducing incidental music in sporadic way, and gradually increases the tempo a little by little until the end of the short. The use of the tried and tested doesn’t just stay with incidental music, as his use of other sound was spot on! The key in the lock, creaking doors, footsteps; the everyday sounds you hear all the time and never think twice about – that might change. Again, it was beautifully done and really added to the overall atmosphere of the film. Credit also goes to James Matthews who has done a commendable job with his foley work

Visual Effects

Rating 9 out of 10

9 out of 10

The major effect (other than suspense) is the sudden appearance of The Blue Door.  Its appearance being seamless between shots. An effect that may not be as simple as it appears to implement. Also setting the scene and creating the right environment called for various props which were used sparingly but to great effect. The lack of bright colours contributed to the bleakness felt while watching it, and of course, the colour blue was prominent – as expected.

Video Quality

Rating 9 out of 10

9 out of 10

Benedict Spence brings his expertise to take care of cinematography, a more than crucial job, as literally all eyes will be focused on screen given the lack of dialogue.  Spence opted for various camera angles to best convey Whelan’s acting, and shots such as  close-ups of her facial expressions helped to enhance the overall mood.

We watched The Blue Door through the YouTube link above, and the picture quality looked good, with great depth between shadows and highlights. It was an easy watch. Opting to bring Spence on board was a great move.

The Blue Door Overall Thoughts

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Watching The Blue Door its easy to see why BAFTA opted to nominate it for Best Short.

On paper its premise is incredibly simple, but its execution is superbly crafted. Long after watching the short, it still makes you think about what it’s trying to say.  This is reflected on the long list of YouTube comments discussing ‘the Nurse’.

Whilst it doesn’t seem likely to spawn a longer feature, I look forward to see what the creative team of The Blue Door come up with next.

What would you give?

The Silver Hedgehog: Rating

The Script/Screenplay - 9
Standout Casting - 10
Sound/Music/Score - 10
Visual Effects - 9
Video Quality - 9

9.4

Must Watch

Watching The Blue Door it's easy to see why BAFTA opted to nominate it for Best Short. On paper the premise is incredibly simple, but its execution is superbly crafted.

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Credits

Words Garry & Chelsea

Editor JJ

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This site is a non-profit project..

As a small, independent website run by Garry in his spare time,  we need your help to continue providing great content.

Please donate to help The Silver Hedgehog grow. All funds are put back into the website, and help provide new features.

Buy Me A Coffee

Buy Me a Coffee is a service that allows you to make a voluntary one-off donation in the form of a cup of coffee.

1 x coffee = £3.00

Patreon

Paetron

We have several Patreon subscription levels available, starting at £3.00 per month.

End Credits

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Directed by Paul Taylor
Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)  
Ben ClarkMegan Pugh
Cast  
Janie Booth
Annie McGrath
Gemma Whelan
Music by Steve Dunne 
Sound Design Ben Carr
Cinematography by Benedict Spence
Film Editing by Dan Mellow
Makeup Department 
Ruth Pease … Hair and Makeup Designer
Sound Department 
James Matthews … foley editor

Meet Garry

An office worker by day and blogger by night. Garry is the creator and writer of The Silver Hedgehog.  A Sci-Fi geek (don’t mention Terry Pratchett or Isaac Asimov unless you have a spare hour) and avid film fan (noted for watching Titanic 8 times at the cinema 🤩).  Enjoys writing reviews and blogs in his spare time, and is waiting for the day he gets paid for it!

Meet Chelsea

Chelsea

A curly haired dinosaur lover, who enjoys learning…for fun.
Has have been known to spend weekends in the 15th century (medieval re-enactment). Constantly baffled by technology. Enjoys classic TV shows and movies.
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