Thrown in at the deep end, ‘Skuld’ takes no time in revealing its true colours. Within the first few scenes we encounter household objects inexplicably seeping blood, a creepy phantom child watching somebody sleep from a darkened corner of their bedroom, a sink that also felt the urge to join in on the blood seeping fun and a shadow that quickly passes an open door in the very corner of our protagonist’s periphery. Tick, tick, tick and TICK!
From its offset, it would be easy to palm off this horror short as a just another amalgamation of the same tried and tested horror clichés that can be found in oh so many horror stories. But that isn’t quite this case. For Skuld isn’t just a skin deep, ‘for God’s sake just leave the damned house (!!)’ horror in which a vulnerable protagonist with bucket loads of curiosity but a complete lack of rational judgement decides to stick around in a hell house until even the ghost finally gets sick of their insensibility and decides to consume their soul. No, no, no! Skuld is instead a lesson in deceiving the viewer, leading them to false conclusions before throwing in a twist, leading them on again, and so forth.
For what we at first believe to be a classic horror movie haunting, turns into a story of a grieving mother experiencing vivid hallucinations of her son who was killed in a tragic accident. Turns back into a haunting with the phantom child grassing on his mother by telling her dying patient she murdered him. Which then finally turns back to a hallucination when she comes face-to-face with an undead grudge embodiment of herself embracing the son she murdered.
We are left second guessing ourselves to the true nature of the story. For how is it so the dying woman can also see her child, if it is but a hallucination? But how is it so, if it is but a haunting, our protagonist meets herself? Perhaps it is a combination of the two? No, for the dying woman also comments on seeing ‘a creature’ following the child, presumably the grudge embodiment of his mother (the nurse), at a time before she was even aware the protagonist ever had a child.
Pehaps the story ultimately doesn’t make sense. Or perhaps the grudge embodiment is actually her time travelling guilt-ridden corpse from the future, which is why she can be seen by the dying woman too. That makes sense, right?
Whatever the case, I loved the disorientating, second guessing, self-doubt inducing ride that was Skuld. For this is exactly the sort of self-doubt I wish to arise in those viewing my short, though ultimately, I have a logical explanation for the events that unfold within my short… I look to mask it with the noise, confusion and self-doubt created by false leads.
I am (by sheer coincidence, I promise!) also looking to include an embodiment of guilt within my short, that also takes on the form of that of whom is its host, as can be seen in Skuld.