Written, produced, directed and shot by Jason Coffman, The Secret Cinema is a nice slice of intrigue with plenty of potential horror left to the imagination of viewers. Tying in to a previous short film from Rabbit Room Productions (the excellent Tape), I am going to brace myself here for some possible repercussions from the film-maker and just blurt out the fact that I didn't quite like this one as much as the previous film. I didn't really dislike it but I just wasn't as impressed with the general premise this time around, perhaps because it felt more familiar to me while Tape felt quite fresh.
Anyway, here's the plot. A man wants to see something new and edgy and so is taken along by a friend to the secret cinema of the title. There he sees something wild, something offered to audiences by the masked Mr. Lake. The next day he has the opportunity to process the film that he saw and do something about it, though probably not in the way that you expect.
The Secret Cinema is a good watch but it's hampered by a few flaws throughout. The first problem is the acting from Neil Calderone and Tyler Pistorius, the two main characters who visit the cinema. I don't want to be unnecessarily cruel but the two men aren't the best actors I've ever seen, though Pistorius pulls off an amusing double-take. The second problem comes from the script. It just doesn't feel right because it often feels like it's trying too hard, especially when one or two of the lines sit at odds with what has previously been said (something I can't go into further detail with as I don't want to spoil anything).
However, the film is about imagery, both seen and implied, and it gets things right in the visual department. This is helped in no small part by the presence of Stephanie Leigh-Rose and Heidi Foland, playing beautiful but slightly creepy women, but really hits its stride when it comes to the work of the mysterious Mr. Lake.
But let me end by explaining why I watched this short. It's made by someone I know through a lot of online chat, involved the talents of many other people I know in the same capacity, and has been highlighted by quite a few people as something worth seeing. Whether I loved the end result or not doesn't take anything away from my admiration for Mr. Coffman and co. and the work that has so far been released by Rabbit Room Productions. They at least try to create something entertaining and unique and you can't say that about everyone making movies out there. So keep up to date with their output and give them your support necause they deserve it.
The site for Rabbit Room Productions is a work in progress at the moment so I'll end with this link here, once again - https://www.facebook.com/tapeshortfilm