Watching filmmakers adapt the works of H.P. Lovecraft is always a good thing in my book, and with films like RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, and even entries that may not be straight from the source but more of an homage (see Carpenter’s IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS), you can tell that Lovecraft’s influence is prevalent and definitely alive today. Enter Izzy Lee’s INNSMOUTH, a short film loosely adapted by the VERY good Lovecraft tale, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth“.
While the Lovecraft story dealt with a student who discovers amphibian/human hybrids within the seaport town of Innsmouth, Lee’s short film updates the setting to tell the story of a detective (played excellently by Diana Porter, MARY LOSS OF SOUL, ALMOST HUMAN), investigating a bizarre crime scene involving a murder victim that exhibits some strange wounds. While looking over the crime scene, Porter’s Detective finds a photo featuring the deceased woman standing next to a mysterious and enchanting woman, whose identity is unknown. The only clue to the photo and the victim is the word “Innsmouth” written on the back. Following further investigation, the detective figures out that sediment found on the victim is of the rare kind and only found at..you guessed it, a seaport town named Innsmouth.
It’s such an intriguing setup to watch, that as a viewer, you’re very anxious to see how the story plays out, and the film is a loose enough adaption of the story that it takes you in places that you’re not expecting, all within its 11-minute running time. It’s a surefire sign of a talented filmmaker who knows how to create suspense and mystery, and Lee knows how to really create a mood that allows her viewer to genuinely be along for the ride.
As viewers, we want to know what mysteries await the detective (and us as viewers) in the town of Innsmouth, and when she gets there and comes across the mysterious woman form the picture (played by the always wonderful Tristan Risk from THE EDITOR and AMERICAN MARY) , we’re anxious to see how the film plays out. To give anything else away would be a disservice to the film and its power to really entertain you, but I will say that there’s a moment in the last couple minutes of the film that you’ll definitely not see coming, and really shows just how committed to the film that Risk and Porter were. Both actresses are on top of their game and do an excellent job bringing depth and character to their roles, even if it’s within 11 minutes.
INNSMOUTH is exactly what short films should be: a glimpse of the talent behind the filmmaker and their stars, a story that leaves you wanting more, in the best of ways. After the film was over, I found myself wanting to experience more of the mythos behind the updated Innsmouth and the residents that inhabit it. With such a strong short film proving that she can tell a solid as hell mystery, I’d die to see a feature of this Lovecraftian gem.