Student Film Review: Limbo

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Storytelling without words is incredibly difficult. Any film that can captivate an audience without sound does something to us more than dialogue can. “Wall-E” and “Up” use the lack of words in a way that changed storytelling for every film past it. Creating a driving force behind your film that doesn’t rely on any spoken exposition or reference makes it immensely more powerful when a message is delivered.

Ethan Beller’s “Limbo” proves that without dialogue, we can still be creeped out and feel for a character we don’t even know.

Completely in black and white, we’re introduced to a young woman who wakes up in an empty room. Stuck in a post-suicide limbo, our protagonist discovers herself in a weird grey area between life and death. The cinematography here stood out, as the style of this short film relied heavily on the visuals. Each camera angle keeps us entertained and invested in the progression of reveals we get throughout the film.

“Haunted when the Minutes Drag” by Love and Rockets plays under this four-minute short film, and acts as a perfect build to the progression and pacing of the piece. The lyrics to “Haunted” are based on “Alice in Wonderland” and couldn’t have possibly been more fitting to the piece. As we figure out more and more of our protagonist’s situation, the music swells and builds, forcing us deeper and deeper into the story.

Beller is currently working on a horror/comedy feature script and other short films. I look forward to more that he has to offer in the same strain of “Limbo.” You can follow Beller on Twitter @Beller3_.

For questions, comments, submissions or just to chat, email me at or find me on Twitter @FamularoDom.

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