SOUVENIRS OF A HITCHHIKER (SHORT FILM)

BY BLAINE MCLAREN

Luke Ramer and (his company)West 2nd Productions have been pouring out a lot of interesting content over the past few years.  They have made 2 short features, a web series and now “Souvenirs of a Hitchhiker”.  This film is a short found footage film that was originally to be included in an anthology.  As these projects tend to do, the anthology fell apart.  Instead of just letting the movie sit, Mr. Ramer decided to let it loose on YouTube for free.  Lucky for us, its a pretty great little film!

The film opens with a young woman who is hitchhiking across the Northeast and taping her adventures.  Soon she is picked up by an odd guy, who is may or may not be a good Samaritan.  Once he convinces her to stay at his home, things take a turn for the worse and no one is who they seem to be.

This is another home run from this gang of no-budget filmmakers and I am happy to see them continuing to try new things.  Most of the acting is fairly good and seems to improve as the movie progresses.  Luke Ramer really shines when he is building suspense and the found footage aesthetic gives him a great opportunity to show off his chops.  I enjoyed that the camerawork (itself) feels more handheld, then completely found footage.  It reminds you that this is a movie and does not insult your intelligence or pretend that it is real.  I cannot recommend this film enough and I think that it is only a matter of time before Luke Ramer becomes a household name among horror fans.  Souvenirs of a Hitchhiker can be watched below for free.  Please support his other films and projects at https://www.facebook.com/west2ndproductionsPA/

DEAD BEAT (2015 Short Film)

Luke Ramer and his team at West 2nd Productions have been busy as hell this year.  They have cranked out two feature films, one anthology segment and one high concept short.  This review is for the latter and (in my humble opinion) is his most accomplished to date.  It is very apparent that these films are made on shoestring budgets, but still manages to convey a very cinematic feel.  There are only a few instances where the budget shows is only really shows when it comes to the sound in a few scenes.  These few aurel shortcomings are easily dismissed, especially when you factor in the camerawork and acting on display.  The effects are brief, but in its painful climax I guarantee you will feel every bit of pain displayed on screen.

The story is very simple, but never feels cliche.  A guitar toting scumbag meets a young lady, sleeps with her and gets her pregnant.  From this point, we find out that already has a child that he rarely sees and quickly gets treated to a dose of his own medicine.

As I said before, nothing feels cheap in this film and I am happy to be able to watch a filmmaker grow and improve.  The story is quick and never lets itself get bogged down by boring, pointless chit-chat.  The director understands that movies are a visual medium and uses what he has to its maximum effect.  What we get is a brisk, squirm inducing ride of come-uppance that any decent person can root for.  Keep an eye out for this up and coming filmmaker and check out some of his earlier work if you like what you see.  Dead Beat is currently available for free on YOUTUBE.  Please click the link below to watch it in its entirety.

4.5/5 STARS