Any one who has ever lived in an apartment building knows the feeling. You walk the hallways and hear the muffled sounds of happiness, anger, sadness, and many more emotions behind the closed doors of every unit. Having no frame of reference, you can never really know what is going on behind those doors. Perhaps, even murder?
That is the core concept behind David Higgs’ short film masterpiece, The Last Ten. Think Rear Window only from the perspective of a dark claustrophobic stairwell. The long spiraling path to the top floor unit is long and arduous. It is ripe with tension as the sounds of betrayal pierce louder throughout the corridor. The arc of the main character proceeds down a dark path with every step upward. I will not go into spoiler territory with what happens once he reaches the door, but know that the only images on screen you ever see are from the perspective of the ceiling of the stairwell and nothing more. It is an excellent creative choice as this stairwell has so much character to it. The lighting and colour balance is superb. The pallet is warm and cold simultaneously. And then there is the sound design. No audible words are actually said in the entirety of the film. What dialogue exists is muffled through the closed doors. Cracks of lightning and the metallic clink of flickering lights echo. All of it, the sound, the lighting, the camera work, all of it works to create a dense feeling of suspense that lasts the entire 13 minutes of the film.
Check it out below.
Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar