Short Film of the Day: Beyond Black Mesa

Why Watch? This is the short film version of a headshot.

Video games make awful adaptation material because, for some reason, they’re more fun for executives to suck all quality from. They’ve invariably meant for high budgets, but instead of bringing the faithful along for the ride, most productions tend to flip fans the middle finger while destroying any sense of story just in case anyone else wanted to enjoy what they were watching.

Not so here. With a small budget and an aim at showcasing action, director Brian Curtin has created a fantastic short based on Half-Life. It could use a bit more in the way of character, but producing such a threatening, obviously villainous group of killers helps us feel for the leads without messy exposition. There are a few low budget problems, but they’re overshadowed by how impressive everything else is. Well shot, interestingly paced, and featuring some stellar production design, this is just engaging as hell. Plus, the ending is truly explosive.

I’ve never played the game, so I can’t speak to how close they nailed it, but everything I’ve read seems to praise them for staying faithful. How about it, Half-Life (and/or zombie) fans? Is this the kind of thing you’d like to see expanded into a feature?

What does it cost? Just 12 minutes of your time.

Check out Beyond Black Mesa for yourself:


Trust us. You have time for more short films.

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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