Daffy Duck might have run amuck in the classic Looney Tunes cartoon “Duck Amuck”, but when a bunch of creatures from the depths of an evil book, Necronomicon-style, run amok [amock] in this short French film they certainly do it with style.
Amock is a very stylish prize-winning short film by four young filmmakers — Xavier Goubin, Sarah Matuszack, Martin Vaissié and François Vico. It uses a camera-verité style — you know, “Oops! I left my camera running while I was trying to avoid the things that want to eat me”, as in Cloverfield, The Zombie Dairies, Diary of the Dead… — and does it very well, completely succeeding in not making me nauseous!
Kaiju Search-Robot Avery — in his never-ending mission to unearth all creatures great and even greater — asked one of the film’s réalisateurs, Martin Vaissié, all about it:
Amock was a short student film we made during our third year in a VFX school in France. The third year is actually the last year of the course and is dedicated to making a short film. Each team has to make its own film. We were a team of four people working on this one.
It would be a very long story to explain where the film came from, because it has changed so many times during the post production. We’ve started the scenario from scratch many times, same for the storyboard, and it was quite difficult to get this hand-held cinematographic style into a stage good enough to present to our teachers.
Nicolas Bienfait assisted me in making the creature concepts and 3D models. Both of us were supposed to create some really twisted monsters when we first started the project. It ended up being not so twisted because we had to make everything technically doable by VFX students, especially in terms of the animation — it’s really hard to make a character come to life in a realistic way when it has basically no head, no eyes, a torso that’s flipped upside down, many legs, everything scaled in a strange way, etc.
Before we give you a good look at the weird and very wonderful creatures, perhaps you should watch Amock for yourself. Here it is in its entirety — 8 minutes, including the credits… come on! It’s better than the time you spent with [plug in the last mainstream epic you were bored by].
So, here is a close look at the models used to realise the creatures in CGI:
Or here they are in the round:
As with all short films, Amock may be light on plot, but it does a great job of entertaining you for the six or so minutes before the credits roll — and those credits themselves a rather classy. Of course it plays like the beginning of something … and that is exactly what it may be someday. If the filmmakers’ ambitions can be guided into reality through the convoluted byways of the film industry, and deals can be struck with the weird creatures that lurk there, they hope that a feature-length version may be forthcoming. They are, as the saying goes, working on it.
Interestingly, Amock had a different ending once. Seems to round out the concept nicely, adding a touch of apocalyptic grandeur. Check it out:
For the diehards, there’s also a Making-Of doco, though it’s rather longer than the film itself:
Once again, Amock illustrates just how good independent films can be, using the resources of modern technology, imagination and talent. Hopefully the Amock crew can turn their vision into a full-length feature before too long.