[Review] Petra Deeter's Short Film 'Beautiful'

Based on Japanese folk tale, a once beautiful woman takes revenge on others by submitting her victims to the same mutilation she received. Now the folktale has made its way to modern times taking on anyone who encounters the spirit as a victim. The homicide detective on the case knows solving the case could be his only chance at finally winning the heart of this partner.

Beautiful begins with the story of the Japanese folk tale to set up us for the film with an animation sequence. The decision to make this sequence animated is correct, though the animation itself lacks the full dreamlike feeling that it perhaps aimed for.

A hard cut takes us to the detectives investigating the murders that mimic the actions of the folktale, the focus soon redirects to the affections of Roger. Though Detective Roger struggles with his unrequited affection from his partner Sharon, the delivery and chemistry between the two echoes why Sharon doesn’t feel much there. As he continues to fantasize, the boundaries between reality and fantasy become blurred and nightmarish.

Beautiful tries to set up an elaborate story in a short amount of time and really could benefit from more time and effort into creating a stronger and darker atmosphere. While the story holds great potential for creating a dark series of murders, the execution left me wanting either more focus on a single aspect of the story, or more time to fully explore the world Deeter created.


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