Brianna Geiger says Quiet Hours is an exhilarating queer horror short you won’t be able to look away from.
Quiet Hours is an award-winning queer horror short film written, directed, and produced by Ryan Rox. It recently won the Bronze Award for Best New Mexico Short in the 2022 Albuquerque Mindfield Film Festival’s bi-monthly March-April competition. Its design is inspired by 90s horror classics Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). The film begins with a group of friends, Dominic (Rox), Drew (Nick Check), Riley (Jessica N. Jimenez), and Milo (Montelius Valenzuela), getting together to celebrate Milo’s birthday. The festivities are cut short after Milo overdoses on cocaine. The group reunites a year later to celebrate Milo’s life, but things don’t go as planned.
Martin Ramirez’s cinematography and Dokata Thomas’s editing are one of the most striking aspects of the film. One highlight is a time-lapse of a bottle of alcohol draining as the audience watches the friends take shots as they party in honor of Milo. There are no visible differences during the sequence, so it appears as if the contents of the bottle just disappear. The exceptional camera work and editing make the scene fascinating to watch, and prove that even short films can produce extraordinary cinematic feats.
One scene, in particular, that should be mentioned is when the group first begins their night of festivities. The combination of full shots and close-ups portrays the spiral of Dominic as he succumbs to drugs and alcohol. This is complimented well by Thomas’ editing. As he becomes more intoxicated the images begin to blur. This adds to the film’s already tense atmosphere.
It is rare nowadays to have the majority of a cast and production team include people with different sexual identities or genders. In fact, most people working in the film industry are silent when it comes to their identity because they are afraid to be discriminated against. Rox openly states that “Queer and Femme representation in film, on and off-screen, is important to us, and we're happy to report the film was written and directed by a queer non-binary POC, produced and assistant directed by an openly gay man, and the soundtrack features three non-binary POC artists. Beyond that, there are three queer characters, four female characters, and two openly queer actors.” Ryan is beyond commendable for the praise they give to the team. It should inspire other industries to do the same.
If you can, support this queer short film. It is important to give credit where credit is due and promote those that wish to change the film industry. Ryan Rox is an amazing director and what they've done with this film is nothing short of extraordinary. I’m eager to see what other projects Ryan has up their sleeve.
Quiet Hours is a must-see! The film is currently making its film festival rounds, with its world premiere planned for Summer 2022.