We’ve been knee deep in horror this week gearing up for Halloween. We’ve brought you psycho killers and killer clowns, ghosts, demons, and hauntings, all the components that make up the noble genre of horror. But there’s a different kind of horror, one that doesn’t come from the outside. It’s the horror that comes from not knowing ourselves or those that we love. That’s the kind of horror that Wilson Cleveland is exploring in his new short film Kept Man.
Cleveland writes, produces, and stars in this psychological thriller as Jake, a man on the rebound who meets an handsome stranger in Brian. The two find love, but that love is quickly tested by Brian’s apparently declining mental state. There is an incredible tension that arises when you can’t trust your partner, and when that partner can’t trust themselves. Kept Man does an excellent job of mining that tension and transmuting into a more subtle fear that builds through each scene. The possibility of violence is introduced early and looms over the remainder of the film.
When a character’s perception of reality can’t be trusted it invites the audience to expect the unexpected. Expectations can be subverted and the viewer has no way to predict where the next blow will come from. Kept Man is perfectly constructed to exploit this by keeping the viewer off balance, ready for anything but not sure what to expect. If you’re looking for horror that bites at a different part of the brain then I highly recommend you check it out.