Based on the popular Penny Arcade comic series May We Die in the Forest, this live-action short film offers a fantastical trip into a dangerous forest where young scouts attempt to cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood by killing a basilisk. Without being turned to eternal stone.
It’s tough to know where to start when praising a short that’s this good. Director David Bousquet (who was also the screenwriter and director of photography) took the adaptation seriously–hiring a large enough crew to bring a sense of dirt-deep realness to the mythical story as well as a tone of intensity and camaraderie to the deadly rite of passage. The costume design is stellar (particularly the owlish sparring masks), the production design of the thatch-roof camp feels lived in, and the basilisk design evokes a Hensonesque Dark Crystal feel that plants one foot firmly in the land of make believe.
The dread-tinged story is aided by energetic editing that juggles a hunt that’s on the cusp of disaster with the backstory of a reluctant scout remembering the sting of an early embarrassment and the power of his ranger’s enthusiastic training. As such, the short film is about survival in more than one way.
Lookouts is a stellar achievement that invests in its ideas and its practical/CGI effects enough to bring a monster to life in the middle of an engaging campfire tale. Its merits make a strong argument for a feature-length version.
Have you seen any good short films online lately that are worth highlighting? Tell us about them in the comments.
Featured image: RedGate Films