Review by Mark Schwab
February 16th, 2019
Director Richard Miller's horror short NIGHT TIDE wastes no time in showing off its strengths as our lead man (Gavin Fowler) approaches a foreboding house in the dark of night. There is tension and atmosphere as thick as London fog with textbook-perfect composition, lighting and music laying down the rules for what is to come; a suspenseful scare show, executed to the nines.
After entering the house, it turns out our lead man is married but seemingly in name only as his wife Amy (Bethan Sweet) mindlessly texts on her phone without even making eye contact as he tries to connect with her. We will not meet any other characters so when Amy suddenly seems to disappear from the house, it leaves a big hole for our lonely husband to try and solve the mystery as strange, supernatural events begin to plague him in his search.
Technically, NIGHT TIDE is pretty much perfect. Especially cinematographer Grant Archer who shows astonishing skills in using shadows, deep blacks and carefully placed lighting to create an almost otherworldly environment. It takes talent to shoot a film this dark and yet still feel as if you know where you are geographically within the scene. NIGHT TIDE uses simple darkness as effectively as any film I have ever seen (and a great showreel for the Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K!). I also loved the choice of music cues which range wildly from Beethoven to Exorcist-style Mike Oldfield and yet it all works. With two strong performances from Fowler and Sweet, how could you go wrong?
Well, it does lose a half diamond only because the reveal is pretty easy to catch early on. Granted, the film is only 8 minutes so I admit to being a little picky with that but it does stand out due to such expert execution on all other fronts. Still, Richard Miller and his cast and crew prove themselves to be very formidable filmmakers and NIGHT TIDE is an engrossing creep-out from start to finish.