In every horror movie, the antagonist is either a monster or paranormal entity of some sort. What if I told you that in this horror short film written and directed by Larica Perera, the real evil was of human descent? Perera takes the genre of horror to a whole new level in her short film, Tik Tik.
In the beginning, there is off screen sound as an intertitle appears. The voice is of a woman, and she appears to have been talking to the audience, already setting the creepy, omniscient tone of the film.
The first visual shot that we see is of a little girl hammering a wooden board to the door. The voiceover helps the audience identify the little girl as a moment from narrator’s past.
I really like the tracking shot in the hallway as the little girl follows the sound of her mother’s agony to the visual of her mother giving birth. The short film seems to focus a lot on sound before revealing what the sound really is. This further adds to the suspense of the film, as well as the foreshadowing of events.
It’s quite amazing what the power of a simple closeup can do to the viewers. When the camera focused in on the mother screaming and gripping the sheets in extreme pain, it had an emotional effect on me. I was almost empathizing with her pain, and it made me want to yell at the people in the room to help the poor woman. It angered me greatly that the ones standing around her were just watching her go through so much pain without doing anything about it.
I noticed through replaying certain parts that the one elderly woman had a cross in her hand, as if she was urgently praying. The next detail that I noticed was that after a thump was heard in the ceiling, a man desperately gripped a bat between his hands, as the narrator explained a creature, almost like the angel of death.
During the next scene, the camera weaves through the hallway by itself, almost as if it has a voice of its own. There is a thumping sound followed by the creak of the door. What I love most about the sounds in the short film is that they’re all crucial to the plot of the film, and they provide more of a structure to the narration that succeeds or precedes each sound.
When the man walks up the stairs and the young girl yells that the healer has arrived, I felt an immediate rush of relief. Finally, someone was going to help the poor woman stop suffering. She was going to birth her child, and there would be a happy ending, right?
I couldn’t have been more wrong. What happened in the end upset me so much, yet it addressed the opening line very well. In the beginning, the narrator said that she had wanted to be a mother. Perera’s word choice was very clever, yet subtle. It didn’t click with me until I saw the ending, and until she repeated that statement once again.
Tik-Tik is not only an amazing horror short film, but it’s intellectually stimulating as well. It’s one of those films where watching it just once won’t be enough to fully catch on. It’s also one where if you miss even a minute of it, you’ll be confused throughout the rest of the short film.
The director really makes you think about how the narration influences the visual imagery. In certain films, the narration gets tedious and annoying after a while. However, Perera’s use of the voiceover in this film worked like magic. It reminded me almost of a documentary, with the added mystery of never seeing the narrator in person. We saw her as a child and heard the adult voice in the background, making Tik-Tik very unique and extraordinary.
It’s no surprise that Tik-Tik has been nominated for (and won) multiple awards, such as Best Female Filmmaker in the My Rode Reel Competition.