Generally these short fan films offer up a certain formula; introduce Jason, introduce victims, kill them. It's pretty rare that we have character development or even a viable plot other than putting the victims in situations where they can die fast and with the least amount of special effects.
The Storm is a simple film, however it is a well-done simple film. The plot introduces two females enjoying a midday swim. One of the girls notices that her friend just upped and left and heads back home in frustration where she is then joined by her sister and an annoying guy-friend as well as her stern cop father. Her father leaves her alone and when a thunderstorm hits the lights go out and Jason strikes killing them all- some in very familiar fashion- one by one.
The great thing about this fan film is that it was forced to follow that formula by default-- being a short, but don't let that deter you. The Storm did a lot of things that other short fan films did not, or simply could not. First off, the thing that sticks out the most is the beautiful HD cinematography. Right off the bat you know that this film was made by professionals and not just fans with a DV camera. Steady shots, close ups with an actual depth of field that we generally get with 35mm cameras. All of that aside, this movie had me constantly saying 'whoa'! The director Joe Patnaud really rolled the dice with this short film and we see that within the first minute we see a flash of T&A.
The pacing of this short is fast and relentless- right after the first two females are introduced the killing begins. I also would love to point out that the directing was great and you will see what I mean in the first few minutes when the first girl is killed. The way Jason Voorhees was introduced was unexpected and caught me off guard. The way the scene was shot was great and it did something that I applaud- it did not show Jason's face! The entire first scene was so well shot and really brought me back to the whole Camp Crystal Lake atmosphere, something that really has not been there since Friday The 13th Part II.
Once the movie moves inside of her home the atmosphere changes to something ala Halloween. For a fan film the acting was pretty top-notch and the characters never took you out of the short like a lot of fan films do due to bad acting. From this point on the movie takes on a different pace from the time Jason was cleverly introduced in the kitchen. The way Patnaud was introduced with lightning was simply genius. I was expecting him, but not that way and it sort of made me jump. Needless to say it was more than effective.
The Storm was not only a fun short chock-full of homages to the old franchise, but it was a very well shot, well executed film that played more like a demo-reel for Timberwolf Entertainment mixing drama, with sexy body shots, humor and of course horror. Tim Whitfield played a great Jason- fast, furious with really crazy fast movements that really added to the craziness of the character. I loved the fact that Jason was portrayed as a maniac human, something like I would picture a serial killer. For me, that adds a lot to the character. The only think I disliked about Jason was his mask and that was because I am not a huge fan of the remake style mask.
Production wise the movie was a success from the direction to the cinematography, to the acting and even the original score that helped the movie so much. A lot of times when fan films recycle Manfredini's score it never really fits the scene 100% because it was not written for that scene. I'd have to say that for fan film fans this movie is most-definitely one that I would strongly suggest checking out. Even for Friday The 13th fans, I really think everyone will like this one. Much like Patnaud's other Voorhees-venture Cold Heart Of Crystal Lake, this movie packs so much in such a short span of time. Highly recommended, so check out the Timberwolf site for updates of when and where this will be released on the internet.