|Directed by||Douglas Harvey|
|Written by||Douglas Harvey|
|Starring||Samantha Harvey |
|Music by||Douglas Harvey|
|HSRB||GS-13 for some violence, language, and alcohol abuse|
|Cinematography by||Douglas Harvey|
|Edited by||Douglas Harvey|
|Distributed by||Harvey Studios|
|Release Date||January 24, 2014|
|Running Time||9 minutes|
|External Links:||Official Website|
One Left is a 2014 satirical suspense-thriller short film written and directed by Douglas Harvey. The story follows a young woman (Samantha Harvey) who wakes up in a stranger's house with no memories of recent events. When she finds a knife in her hands - a weapon used in a recent murder - a mysterious caller offers her the chance to ask ten questions about her predicament to solve the mystery. The film is humorous in its use of typical suspense-thriller tropes and story beats, satirizing the genre in a darkly comic tone.
The film was originally written and meant to be released in January 2013 as a "48-Hour Filmmaking Challenge", but writer/director Douglas Harvey was unable to complete it and it was thus put on hold. It was then meant to be produced in the fall of 2013, but after two separate changes of the main actress it was shelved again and finally resurrected for a January 2014 release.
A young woman (Samantha Harvey) wakes up in a stranger's house with no memory of recent events. She finds a knife in her hands - a weapon used in a recent murder - and she is the prime suspect. A mysterious caller (Douglas Harvey) gives her the opportunity to solve the mystery - but she's only allowed to ask ten questions before further unknown atrocities are committed upon her. There's no room for error here, and this is not a friendly place in which to play this sadistic game.
~~ WARNING: This section contains story spoilers!! ~~
The film opens with the sight of several empty bottles of liquor and wine. We see that a young woman (Samantha Harvey) is passed out at a table beside them. She awakens slowly, realizing she is holding a large kitchen knife in her hand. After investigating her immediate surroundings - a dining room in a strange house - she takes a bottle of wine and inspects it.
A phone beside her rings and she answers it. The voice on the other end (Douglas Harvey) - masked by a synthesizer - wishes her a happy New Year and tells her she gets "the first three free". She doesn't understand before he hangs up, and instead decides to begin drinking heavily from the bottle of wine. As she finishes a glass, she begins hearing whispers ("Don't move the body! Call in the techs!"). She calls out to them but instead of an answer, the phone rings again.
She hesitates to speak when answering this time, and the caller compliments her intuition. He offers her another free question, but not before warning her of the rules of the game: she will be allowed to ask 10 questions - no statements and no loopholes - questions which will be answered truthfully and to the fullest extent possible. If she can answer these questions it is implied that she will solve the mystery of her predicament.
Using her last free question, the young woman asks what she did with the knife she woke up with in her hand. The caller informs her that she herself did nothing with it, that it was just put in her hands. During this, the young woman notices a pair of keys on the table across from her. She continues drinking, quickly burning through several questions while she collects the weapon and the keys, inspects the foggy outdoors through a window, and taunts her mysterious caller.
Unrelenting, the caller refuses to give in to her attempts to evade his game. He warns her of her careless actions and offers her one more chance to understand her situation. The young woman crosses into the living room where she finds a thick file folder filled with documents and photographs of a murder. Realizing she is being framed for the killing, she demands to be let out of the house.
Using the keys she manages to exit the stranger's house and walks out into the foggy and eerie night. A cloaked figure watches her from down the road and continues to get closer and closer to her as she investigates a dead body covered in a bloody white sheet. Realizing it is the corpse of the murder victim she is being accused of killing, she pulls away the sheet but finds nothing but a dirty mound of snow beneath it.
She is momentarily relieved and confused, but as the cloaked figure approaches her with the knife she seems to come to a final revelation. Before she can ask her final two questions she is attacked by the cloaked man and blacks out. More whispers surround her ("Who are you!?") as the police arrive and find her unconscious body.
Among a barrage of pounding tones and nearly indecipherable whispers, it is revealed that the former sequence of events was a police investigation warped within the drunken and confused mind of the accused young woman. A bright light flashes on, revealing the young woman in an interrogation cell. Hyperventilating and realizing the severity of her predicament, she asks if she killed the girl under the sheet. The investigating officer, off screen, tells her that that is what he is trying to find out. He offers her a final question before the film cuts to black.
- Samantha Harvey as The Accused, a young woman who wakes up in a stranger's house with a knife and no knowledge of the act of murder she is being interrogated about.
- Douglas Harvey as The Caller, a mysterious and faceless man who gives the Accused the chance to ask ten questions about her predicament before judgement is passed.
The short film's 7-page screenplay was written and polished by Douglas Harvey within two hours' time. Since the film was originally part of a "48-Hour Film Challenge", there was not much time to spend on making the screenplay absolutely perfect. Once he was comfortable with the story and the dialogue, the script was locked.
Writer/Director Douglas Harvey has described the film as a "twisted interrogation sequence" with a "slight horror film flavor". In the story, a young woman with no memory of recent events finds herself in a stranger's home with a kitchen knife that had just been used to commit a murder. Instead of escaping and finding out the clues on her own, the character of the mysterious and unseen "Caller" was added to antagonize the main character.
With the "ten questions" scenario, most of the film's suspense comes from the character having to carefully craft her questions so as to not waste any opportunities on meaningless information. At the end of the film, it is revealed that the Caller's sadistic game is, in fact, the drunken main character's perception of a pressing police investigation into the murder - with her as the prime suspect.
One Left was originally going to star Writer/Director Douglas Harvey in addition to his multiple duties as writer-director-cinematographer-editor-producer. This was in January 2013 and was meant to be a self-imposed "48 Hour Film Challenge" were a 5 minute short film was entirely written, produced, shot, edited, and completed within a 48-hour deadline. However, due to the equipment he had at the time, it was frustratingly difficult to simultaneously manage the actions both in front of and behind the camera. It was subsequently shelved.
The film was then resurrected in the mid-summer of 2013 with Douglas Harvey's muse, Lindsay Cupelo in the main role. Filming was scheduled but due to separate emergencies, both the original shooting day and the make-up date were cancelled. The film was then shelved again.
A third resurrection occurred in October 2013 with Veronica Chier in the main role. Several film dates had to be cancelled due to the actress's other commitments and emergencies. It was then re-scheduled for shooting on November 29th, 2013, still with Veronica in the leading role. Her son, Jacob Weir was the stand-in for the Caller. Part-way through shooting, director Douglas Harvey became frustrated once again due to equipment failures, and the project was temporarily suspended for shooting in several weeks time.
The production fell through and was cancelled once again during this brief interim. Determined to complete the simple film he had started a year before, Douglas brought his sister Samantha Harvey on board in the leading role, with which she gave the film a brand new flavor. Her performance caused the film to take a shift into a satirical, darkly comic tone that twisted what was originally intended to be played straight. Knowing it would be folly to attempt to direct his sister in a serious capacity, the director accepted this new layer and intentionally utilized the project as an attempt to satirize the common tropes and beats of films in the same vein. With this, they successfully completed principal photography for One Left on January 15th, 2014 for a January 24th, 2014 release date.
The film was finally shot with Samantha Harvey in the lead on January 15th, 2014. The shoot was late at night/early in the morning - stretching from 11:45pm on the 14th and wrapping at 4:30am on the 15th. Once Samantha was wrapped and freed of her acting duties, several pickup shots were completed by the director (mostly the macro shots of the booze bottles seen at the beginning of the film). After those pickup shots were completed, he then recorded his lines as the Caller, and took some field recordings of various room tones to even out the sound of the film.
Editing & MusicEdit
Editing began just hours after filming completed. The first bulk of work was going through all the raw material (filmed shots, sync-sound files, special sound effects, etc) and organizing them into an easily-accessible hierarchy. From there, editing began using temp music from the score to an original abandoned Harvey Studios project, The Winter Anthology.
One a rough cut of the film was complete, it was rendered out at low quality and brought into a separate series of programs to begin composing the original score. Using various electronic and synthetic orchestral instruments, Douglas Harvey built the score using a pulsating beat as the core - the beat speeds up as the film goes on, symbolizing the heart rate of the main character.
As the score continued to grow, the rough cut render was also used as reference for recording foley - the various sound effects that give life to seemingly unimportant actions like picking up a knife, drinking from a bottle, parting blinds, etc. These foley recordings were cleaned and mastered, then synchronized with the actions in the film to create a foley-track that was then incorporated back into the raw edit of the film.
Some lines in the film had to be re-dubbed for various reasons (loud noises that threw off the sound, original sound corruption, etc). These were re-recorded by the actress at a later date and similarly synchronized to the film edit the same way the foley was.
Once all the basic sound was completed, the temporary cut of the original score, and all the separately-recorded dialogue from the phone caller was completed the film was once again given another cut to trim and polish it.
After the film's editing was locked, color correction and a final grade was processed in order to give the film a unique and cinematic look. This included a layer of real 35mm film grain overlaid over the original video to give it the appearance of having been shot on true cinema film.
At this time, the score was polished and incorporated into the film. All the sound was given a final mixdown and one more scrub-through to weed out any issues. Once all those steps were completed and Director Douglas Harvey was satisfied, the film was given a final render in HD and a second copy of that render was compressed for the internet upload.
Release and ReceptionEdit
One Left was released on the internet (Vimeo and YouTube) on Friday, January 24, 2014.
The film's trailer was released on Thursday, January 16th, 2014.
- Run Little Girl - another film by Douglas Harvey in which he plays a mysterious and faceless caller who terrorized a young, innocent woman played by Samantha Harvey.