‘Hex’ Review: Clarence Peter’s Horror Short Film is Gritty But Without Fright

Clarence Peter’s Hex is evidence of his wealth of experience as a cinematographer, usually for music videos. The modalities are different when it comes to filmmaking, particularly, the storytelling aspect. It appears this is a portion of experience Clarence Peters still needs work on—which, usually, is built by making more films. Fragmented into four parts, the 2015 short film follows the death of a character per episode, all the deceased involved in a sinister event that took the life of a man and, now, suffer the consequences with their lives. Anchoring them into this death is Bola (Roseline Afije), who calls them over the phone, claiming to have seen the man’s ghost and, whilst on the call with her, the receiver on the other end loses their life. 


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Character poster. Via Capital Dreams Pictures

    Hex does its best with its explicitness; the display of nudity, violence, and gore is well handled. However, there is no fright for the viewer, not for the sake of fright itself or fright for the characters—we barely know any of them anyway. Structurally, this is a concept film, one of those films that rely on a structure or some other element of novelty to thrive; and here, that novelty is the film’s horror. While it does its best, it doesn’t feel enough. The acting is decent but like everything else, it is subject to the concept. At every point in the short films, all the characters are either afraid, angry, or both. None of them absolutely succeeds at this because the context isn’t absolute, at least not enough for the viewer to know and appreciate why this character is angry. We just wonder about the mystery, and when that mystery is resolved, another mystery—the question of Bola being a witch—simply takes its place.


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    With actors like Kunle Remi, Ayoola Ayolola, Nancy Isime, Scarlet Gomez, and Rosaline Afije (widely known as Liquorose), the narrative goes on smoothly, but deeper questions of the film affect it. Hex won the best short film at AFRIFF in 2015, six years ago. That is quite some time and, hopefully, its director, Clarence Peters, has more narrative tricks and experience under his belt now. 


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