WITHIN 304 (2003)

Directed by: Phil Stevens
Written by: Phil Stevens
Stars: Doug Horn, Chris Gordon, Dana Lerner,
          Deva Watson, Tim Wood, Kim Rosario

Year: 2003
Genrer: Arthouse, Drama, Horror, Short
Run time: 42 minutes
My rating: 3.5 out of 5

Philadelphia film maker Phil Stevens (Flowers, Lung films, Frank Edge Jr, Below Man) delivers this early piece of work much in the same tapped vein and slow deteriorating style of his later silent works which became so prolific such as Flowers and the Lung films.  This one came first like a teen's pre-pubescent premature ejaculation before Below Man so its definitely safe to say its even earlier than his earlier works. I would say his most contrasting movies is found in his film Below Man because it doesn't follow any cues from the rest of his body of work. Below Man had dialogue and followed a somewhat linear story line of sorts.

Within 304 is another silent nightmare and foray into the descent of darkness. We follow the exploits of a medicated, confused and lost individual who is trying to piece together the parts of a puzzle to figure out who he is or what he is doing.  There are spoken parts but they are silenced especially when the lead character is talking to people or having a phone conversation.  It almost seems as if the man has amnesia or can't figure out who he is or why he is doing the things he is doing. He can't remember where his car is and when he stays in a seedy hotel room he begins seeing strange things in the room such as severed body parts under his bed, rusty pipes in the washhroom celing dripping blood or some sort of substance on him while he's taking a bath and he gets various flashes of different terrifying images.

The movie is almost like a grittier version of Memento minus the backwards style of storytelling. Maybe if you replace the general reverse storytelling of Memento and pair it with an amnesiac Groundhog Day you could get a better idea of what this picture portrays. It features a chilling musical score filled with bizarre blips and fuzzy effects that creep down your spine and the content definitely grips and intrigues you while watching as your trying to figure out the puzzle of this guy wandering in an abyss that he doesn't recognize.

Stevens delivers on his trademark ability to wow with a unique style and an enthralling presence to weave a twisted and intricate tale of madness.  Within 304 is another example of the entertaining and gritty style of Stevens, once again shot in black and white in a no frills fashion but containing  raw style and emotional substance.  Low budget high art indie film making which is memorable, original and easy to see where Stevens was headed with his future films.


Produced by: Phil Stevens
Cinematography by: Phil Stevens, Kim Rosario, Tom Stevens
Editing by: Phil Stevens
Special Effects by: Kim Rosario
Music by: Phil Stevens
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color

Distributor: Exploding Gas Can Productions.