About – A troubled sheriff must confront his demons in the form of a notorious gang with the help of a mysterious stranger, determined to collect the wanted men’s bounty. But will the sheriff be able to rise-up to the challenge and put his past behind him?
Fear the Unknown Men is a terrific classic western. The use of the usual western mise-en-scene are perfectly portrayed within this tense and heart-pounding film. We are provided with classic western close-ups like we get in films like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) such as, on the eyes and faces when the characters are at a stand-off, or drinking whisky in the saloon. Fear the Unknown Men portrays an accurate representation of the western, we see in classic western films created by Hollywood.
Luke Shelley, the director has the eye of making short films, having the potential to be features, just like Dropkick and now Fear the Unknown Men. The way that Fear the Unknown Men has the potential to be a feature is down to the intriguing back stories of each character on how/why they are in the saloon.
All performances were brilliant, the engagement between the different character’s dialogue interacted with the audience to keep them engaged but entertained. However, parts of the accents were lost within scenes. This wasn’t a huge problem but it was noticeable for you not to believe in certain scenes compared to others. On the contrary, the performances by the three main men, Sheriff Conway (Nigel Barber), The Stranger (Michael Kennedy) and Buck Ford (Max Cavenham) we’re outstanding. They truly took the role of this western cowboy character and moulded it within their own style of acting and created something special.
The film’s most impressive assets are the costumes and the sound. Firstly, the costumes, they were breath-taking for an independent film to have such brilliant costume design. Just like with the mise-en-scene it felt real, everything that was provided to us was unique to that part of the scene and the certain character which worked brilliantly for the audience to feel like it was real.
Secondly, the score captivates the true western tone of the whole film. The little rattles and beats are like something from a 1960’s Hollywood western. These small but fantastic details make the film more intriguing, which enhances the impact on the viewer.
Finally, Fear the Unknown Men is a staggering western that consumes the audience into being in the western saloon location with the characters. This is helped by the performances and the tiny details of the mise-en-scene that makes us believe that we are part of the action. As said previously this short film has the true potential to be a feature, thanks to the back stories that are open for each character.