- Country: United States
- Initial release: August 2019 (United States)
- Film Director: J. Zachary Thurman
- Running Time: 25 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 7.4
Welcome to the twisted and humorous world of “Finley,” a horror comedy short film that will leave you simultaneously laughing and shivering with delight. Directed by the talented J. Zachary Thurman, “Finley” takes the traditional tropes of killer dolls and turns them on their head, offering a fresh and entertaining take on the genre. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing story, the unique blend of horror and comedy, and the success of “Finley” in the festival circuit.
A Doll with a Vengeful Mission
“Finley” centers around the misadventures of a wooden ventriloquist dummy named Finley, who sets out to kill a group of college kids that have unknowingly moved into his house. Unlike typical possessed dolls, Finley’s motivations stem from a legitimate grievance – he wants to protect his home from the invasion of these unsuspecting students. The film cleverly explores themes of gentrification and the struggles of longtime residents, even if they happen to be murderous dolls.
Flipping Expectations in the Most Amusing Way
Thurman masterfully flips the established tropes of evil dolls and creates a story that surprises and delights audiences. Rather than focusing on the college kids as the main characters, the narrative centers around Finley himself and his journey of self-discovery. This unique approach provides a fresh perspective and allows viewers to empathize with the doll, despite his evil intentions. It’s a refreshing departure from the typical “final girl” formula and adds depth to the story.
Balancing Terror and Comedy
One of the standout aspects of “Finley” is its perfect balance between terror and comedy. Thurman skillfully weaves together elements of horror and humor, creating a rollercoaster of emotions for the audience. The film’s comedic moments provide much-needed relief from the tension, while the horror elements keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The result is a truly entertaining and engaging viewing experience.
The Brilliance of Finley’s Character
Finley, the titular character, is a masterfully crafted anti-hero. While he may be evil, there’s something oddly endearing about him. His appearance allows for a delicate straddling of the line between terror and humor, keeping the audience uncertain about what to expect. Thurman’s clever writing ensures that every scene is a delightful surprise, blurring the lines between comedy and terror seamlessly.
The Impact of Length and Festival Success
“Finley” stands out among other short films due to its slightly longer runtime of 25 minutes. Originally envisioned as a 12-minute film, Thurman realized that the story needed more time to fully develop Finley’s character arc and establish the initial horror atmosphere. This decision paid off, as the film received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the prestigious Portland Horror Film Festival. However, the longer runtime also presented challenges in terms of festival programming, with some events unable to accommodate the film due to time constraints.
Audience Reactions and Resonance
Despite its unconventional approach, “Finley” has resonated with audiences, eliciting a range of emotions and garnering a dedicated fan base. Viewers have found themselves unexpectedly rooting for the doll, feeling sympathy for his plight, and even laughing at his mischievous antics. The film’s ability to elicit such varied reactions is a testament to its originality and the captivating performance of Finley himself.
Looking Ahead: Sequels and Future Projects
While “Finley” tells a complete story, leaving viewers satisfied with its conclusion, there is potential for the character’s return in the future. Thurman has expressed interest in exploring sequels or potentially remaking the film as a feature-length project. Additionally, Finley may make appearances as an Easter egg in Thurman’s upcoming projects, further solidifying the doll’s place in the filmmaker’s repertoire.