Review: Through a Screen Darkly

Messy and complicated meets just plain absurdity in this New Creative piece

Review: Through a Screen Darkly

You can watch Through a Screen Darkly here

Through a Screen Darkly is a short film by Zac Spearman. It follows a young woman who works at a social media moderation company, but the film completely misses the mark when it comes to impact or making any sense whatsoever.

Through a Screen Darkly claims that it explores the fine line between reality and imagination but there was simply no sense of direction, and the lack of dialogue made the story erratic and too confusing to even think about picking apart. As well as this, considering the film is set at a social media company, the technology they are using looks outdated, and given that the film was filmed in 2019 I don't believe this wasn't a wise stylistic choice. It just made the whole film look very basic and amateur. This was further enforced by some questionable acting.

Gothic warning music plays throughout, so whilst you're able to deduce that there will be a dark twist to the ending, I just didn't see the point in any of it. The storyline was completely unclear and didn't hold my attention at all. We saw how the main character was sitting in an office choosing to either accept or decline pictures that were uploaded onto social media. We also see how another employee attends counselling. Perhaps this was a metaphor for the way we base opinions on people through their appearance and online life and the psychological damage this can cause? However, I feel there are many more creative and direct ways to show this, such as using speech and clearer imagery throughout. 

The film ends with a dramatic twist, but it felt out of place in this film, and made the whole thing feel almost fantastical and rather pointless. In truth, the ending feels as if it was made for another film and the editor got his files mixed up. Zac Spearman fails to convey any kind of real meaning.

Header Image Credit: Screenshot taken from BBC Iplayer


Faith Martin

Faith Martin Kickstart

Faith worked as a freelance journalist for a year after finishing her studies at Portsmouth College, writing for a number of esteemed publications as well as running her own music blog before joining Voice Magazine as a Kickstart Trainee Journalist. An avid vinyl collector and gig-goer, Faith also campaigns for disability rights and better disabled access at live music events.

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