"Olfactory Thriller" Review by Sean Mullen at The Reel Peel

by Jimmy on January 31, 2010

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The Reel Peel Review:

Jimmy Nguyen’s “movie of the month,” The Olfactory Thriller, is a 2 part thriller, 1 part comedy about a man, a burrito and a stranger with an incredible sense of smell. The flick kicks off with opening credits that utilizes still images, live-action film, and some animation that can be reminiscent of past Michael Gondry work. The uplifting Spanish music sets the film’s light-hearted tone and warns the viewer not to take it too seriously.

The film begins.

After our main character, Fred (played by the writer/director Jimmy Nguyen), devours a burrito with “extra beans”, a random stranger passing by stops and takes notice. Something about Fred interests this man, but what is it? Nguyen uses distant, candid-like camera angles, first-person view, and eerie guitar music to heighten the film’s tension and allows the audience to feel the creepy vibe Nguyen is trying to inflict. The “stranger”, played by Eric Rasmussen, is a blank canvas of emotion. He has no lines. No facial expressions. Only the stare of Medusa herself could match this stranger’s cold glaze. Equipped with his shades, trench coat, and newsie cap, this mysterious man stalks our lead character and is the catalyst for the film’s entire paranoia. As we follow the story from park benches to empty parking lots, we are constantly wondering the same question: who is this “stranger” and what is he after? He seems to have no motive…but since when did maniacs need a motive?

Nguyen uses classic horror elements, simplicity, and quick fire editing which make up the main three reasons why this film succeeds. Sure, it has it’s flaws that anyone can be nit-picky about –  but this isn’t a submission for the Sundance Film Festival. It’s a short film by an amateur film maker who’s mission is to produce and distribute one film for each month of the year. It’s January and this is film #1. There are 11 more to come. The Olfactory Thriller is only the appetizer of Nguyen’s cinema meal…and I can’t wait for desert.   –  Sean Mullen, www.thereelpeel.com

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara February 2, 2010 at 3:24 am

The music added to the tension, yet made it light hearted. I enjoyed seeing the intro that sets the scene.

2 jimbobmovies February 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Yes indeed. The composer, Eric Roberts, is awesome. I will be working with him a lot more for these future monthly submissions. And I will be working more with the green screen. There’s this special “green screen” paint that you have to get that reduces the glare from lights. Obviously, the light green paint I had in my room isn’t very good because you can see that I was transparent at times in the beginning scene. That’s because there probably is some light green pigmentation in my skin and shirt that was removed along with the green background. The smoke coming off me in the beginning was supposed to simulate stink fumes. I hope you got that. Thanks for watching Barbara!

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