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29 June 2016

Resident evil.

by Andrew MacGregor

Short Films: “Pauline” - 6 mins 08s

If 'Ghostbusters' assumed they had this year's spectral-inspired comedy market taped, they didn't reckon on Fred Rowson's superb insight into paranormal activity in North London. Well, specifically in Pauline Poulter's kitchen.

In an entertaining flurry of documentary-style scenes and quick cuts, the film follows Pauline as she describes the sinister machinations of her oven. Incinerated food, neatly-written death threats, and bloody hand marks to push even the strongest surface cleaner to its limits all contribute to her uncanny lot in life. The Enfield Haunting feels like a walk in the park compared with this.

As well as providing plenty of deadpan laughs courtesy of her efforts to combat "pure and total evil", Joanna Brookes's performance is laced with melancholy notes as we learn more about Pauline's lonely existence. Elsewhere, her offbeat manner produces some memorable quotes, including: "I ate nine Hobnobs in a row and felt rather queer". Tremendous.

The cinematography and production design also earn points: Rowson and cinematographer Will Humphris employ wide shots to lend our protagonist's cramped struggle against her haunted appliance a cinematic quality, while the colour pink subtly runs throughout the film on Pauline's cardigan, a geographical pentagram of doom, and last but not least, the impressively detailed diary - a worthy addition to cinema's fictional library.

Film Production: Colonel Blimp Ⓦ
Director: Fred Rowson Ⓟ Ⓦ (Blink Ⓟ Ⓦ)
Producer: Rob Jelley / Corin Taylor
1st AD: Rory Shaw
Executive Producer: Paul Weston
Cinematographer: Will Humphris
Art Department: Lucie Reid
Wardrobe: Hannah Hopkins
Make-Up: Emma Croft
Editor: Ryan Beck @ Final Cut
Post Production: Chris Anthony @ Framestore Ⓟ Ⓦ
VFX: Katie Rhodes
Colourist: Edwin Metternich
Sound Designer: Patch Rowland @ Final Cut
Casting: Hannah Simons
Actor: Joanna Brookes (Pauline)
Voiceover: David Taylor

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