• Country: United Kingdom
  • Initial release: October 17, 2021 (United States)
  • Film Director: Max Lincoln
  • Running Time: 11 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 6.5

In the world of short films, Rhyme or Die stands out as a thrilling and unique sci-fi horror experience. Directed by Max Lincoln and released in 2021, this 11-minute film takes audiences on a gripping journey where five kidnapped strangers are forced to rhyme to their captor’s funky beats – or die. Combining elements of horror, sci-fi, and suspense, Rhyme or Die captivates viewers from start to finish.

The Concept: A Creative Response to Lockdown

During the UK’s first lockdown, Max Lincoln, the director, was determined to create despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic. With social distancing rules in mind, the concept of Rhyme or Die was born. The film ingeniously utilizes the idea of reluctant contestants being confined to their spotlight areas, ensuring a safe distance between them. This creative response to lockdown adds an extra layer of relevance to the story, reflecting the challenges faced by artists during the pandemic.

The Plot: A Battle for Survival

In Rhyme or Die, the creative industries serve as a backdrop for a cut-throat competition that forces artists to compete against each other. The film explores the destructive consequences of this constant battle for success, which can impact not only one’s artistry but also their overall well-being. Five kidnapped individuals find themselves at the mercy of their captor, who demands that they rhyme to his funky beats. Failure to meet his high expectations means certain death. Rhyme or Die draws inspiration from films like Battle Royale (2000) and The Circle (2015), infusing the narrative with a thrilling mix of horror and sci-fi elements.

The Cast and Crew: A Talented Ensemble

The success of Rhyme or Die wouldn’t be possible without the talented individuals involved in its production. The film boasts a skilled cast and crew, including director Max Lincoln and screenwriter Alex Moran. Bethan Cullinane delivers a standout performance as Dynamo, the maleficent DJ and captor. Victor Alli, Mohammad Amiri, Samuel Blenkin, and Racheal Ofori round out the cast, bringing their characters to life with remarkable performances. The collaboration between the cast and crew brings depth and authenticity to the film’s narrative.

Awards and Recognitions

Rhyme or Die has garnered critical acclaim and recognition within the film industry. The film has won several prestigious awards, including “Best Horror Short” at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival in 2023 and “Best Screenplay Short” at the Manchester Film Festival, also in 2023. It has been nominated for categories such as “Best Production Design” and “Best Hair & Makeup” at The British Short Film Awards. These accolades highlight the film’s quality and the talent behind its creation.

Festival Screenings

Rhyme or Die has had the privilege of being screened at various film festivals around the world. Some notable festivals include the Screamfest Horror Film Festival in the USA, the Razor Reel Flanders Film Festival in Belgium, and the Macabro: Mexican International Horror Film Festival in Mexico. These screenings have allowed the film to reach a wider audience and gain recognition within the international film community.

The Visual Experience: Cinematography and Production Design

The visual aspects of Rhyme or Die play a crucial role in creating an immersive and captivating experience for viewers. Cinematographer Jonny Flint showcases his talent through expertly crafted shots that heighten the tension and suspense of the narrative. The production design by Sarah Asmail adds depth and authenticity to the film’s setting, creating an atmosphere that enhances the overall viewing experience.

Sound and Music: Enhancing the Thrills

Sound design and music are essential elements in any horror film, and Rhyme or Die is no exception. The film’s sound designer, Sam McGrail, skillfully creates a sonic landscape that accentuates the tension and fear experienced by the characters. The music, composed by Joe Farley, complements the film’s funky beats and adds an extra layer of intensity to the rhyming competition.

Poster and Visual Identity

The poster for Rhyme or Die showcases the film’s unique style and captures the essence of its suspenseful narrative. Designed by Creepy Duck Design, the poster features striking imagery that entices viewers and piques their curiosity. The visual identity of the film is crucial in establishing its presence and attracting audiences.

1 Film Review

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  • “Rhyme or Die” stands as a testament to the creativity and resilience of filmmakers, even in the face of challenging circumstances. With its captivating storyline, talented cast and crew, and numerous accolades, this sci-fi horror short film is a must-watch for fans of the genre. The film’s exploration of the cut-throat nature of the creative industries and the consequences of constant competition adds depth and relevance to its narrative. Rhyme or Die is a thrilling and entertaining experience that will leave viewers on the edge of their seats.