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The Moonlight Man, directed by Danny Donahue, takes this feeling of paranoia and visualizes it in under three minutes.
A woman is walking down a desolate street at night, a look of idle worry on her face. She is stopped in her tracks when she sees a gangly silhouette standing across the street. Despite not being able to see any real details or features, she is concerned nonetheless by its menacing demeanor.
She hastens her pace as she enters the parking lot and heads toward the safety of her vehicle. It is there, in true horror trope fashion, that she drops her keys before she is able to fully enter the car. When she bends down to get them, she finds that they have disappeared without a trace. After looking around her feet and under her car to no avail, she sees that the figure from earlier has followed her into the empty lot. This time, illuminated by street lamp, she can see that the figure stands tall in a brown trench coat, sleeves filled by long limbs that end in hands with white, spindly fingers, tipped with sharp black claws.
The woman gets into her car and locks the doors while attempting to call for help. She looks around frantically to see where the figure went but finds that, much like her keys, the figure has mysteriously disappeared. Of course, it isn't gone for long.
The car doors begin to unlock without her permission and the frightened lady desperately tries to keep them locked. Having dropped her phone during the panic, she reaches around under the car seat in an attempt to find it. Unbeknownst to her, the figure has closed the distance and slowly drags its rangy hand across her window.
With the help of a heavy-duty flashlight as her only weapon against the unknown creature, she exits the car, hand raised above her head, ready to strike at a moment's notice. As she cautiously moves toward the trunk, her shoe meets the familiar jingle of her missing keys. She picks them up with a mixture of astonishment and confusion. How did her keys get all the way behind the car? Where is the thing that has been following her? What is happening?
All of these questions are visible on her face as the trunk of her car opens behind her. Her confusion blends with terror as she looks into the empty trunk, giving the Moonlight Man all the time he needs to sneak up behind her. His ashen face, dotted with black soulless eyes, broad nose, and a smile stretched impossibly wide to reveal giant teeth like stained porcelain bullets.
He shoves her into the trunk, gets in behind her, and closes the hatch, presumably never to be seen again.
This short film manages to create the same dread that we all feel when we don't think we are alone. Having zero dialogue keeps character development from getting in the way of a sickening knot being tied in our stomach as we watch this unassuming woman go from sort of cautious bystander to hunted victim.
The Moonlight Man himself, played by Philip Kreyche, while not a marvel of modern special effects, is appropriate for this film. Silent, threatening, and omnipotent is a quick way to make sure your audience is checking the back seat before they go for a ride in the near future.
Well executed by both director and cast, this one is great for a quick scare.