Directed by: Seth Kozak/Damian Veilleux
Written by: Seth Kozak
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The ominous tone is set right from the start with a hushed phone conversation and a night-time departure of the film's leading lady. The woman, Catalina (Katarina Mochacova), is off to see family, and with the weather such as it is, her husband Zachary (Mike Sutton) is a bit concerned. Or is he? Something feels off about him, and his phone conversation doesn't help. We quickly learn his true intentions toward his wife, and Catalina heads off. Along the way, she gets detoured to a hotel and is forced to stay. It's here she meets a weird man, and instantly doesn't trust him. I can't say I blame her.
As this title progresses, we are drawn in to believe that the strange man at the hotel means to harm her. We know her husband knows what's happened, and we know what his intentions are. Leading us to believe this strange man could be the "hired help" isn't all that hard to do. Having the two both staying at this hotel is the perfect recipe for tension, and Seth Kozak doesn't waste time setting things up. But there's a little more meat on the bone of this atmospheric thriller, an ending that you didn't see coming. This title may not be micro-budget filmmaking perfection, but it accomplishes its goal of creating a tense environment.
And that's really what filmmaking is all about. How a title makes you feel. From the skewed camera perspective, to the isolation and strange sounds from a strange place, Rendezvous is brimming with atmosphere. Mochacova does well in her role, and as the mysterious stranger, Art (Chris Kerson) is a perfect set-piece to ramp up the foreboding atmosphere. I also enjoyed the use of music, in the form of a song, and thought it all really added some depth to the fifteen-minute short film. It all comes down to how it makes you feel. The story itself doesn't have the power to drive the film; it's all the little things that make it tick.
Three and a half stars in the micro-budget film world is generally considered quite favorable when you consider that quite a few micro-budget movies aren't worth the space on your hard drive. I don't mean to sound heartless, but as a viewer, I either like a title, or I don't. The pains that have gone into making it don't factor in for me. In the case of Rendezvous, I can't say my socks were blown off by the story itself, but I did share in the tension Catalina must have felt. I did find my hands clasping a little as the title progressed. This is a good project deserving of an above-average mark, so if you're looking to splurge into the indie, micro-budget world for a bit... this is a great place to start.