Buyer beware.

If a murder occurs in a house, in most cases real estate agents are required to disclose this information to anyone interested in purchasing that house. People want to know this sort of thing. However, if a house is inhabited by a demonic entity who likes to possess cute little girls, no one’s required to say jack squat. It’s an uncommon loophole, to be sure, but definitely one you don’t want to find yourself dangling from. It’s also the basis for today’s short selection, The Maiden, a nine-minute horror film written and directed by Michael Chaves.

A beautiful home has an ugly past but it’s up to a young real estate agent to get it off the market, and a nice commission in her pocket. While prepping the house for show she discovers clues to its darkest amenities but proceeds anyway. I’m being intentionally vague because like any quality horror film, the sweetest and most sinister pleasures of The Maiden come from how the story unfurls. Suffice it to say, this is no jump-cut flick. Though there are certainly visceral scares, Chaves’ horror is cerebral, atmospheric, and elegant in its fright. The cinematography from Tristan Nyby is a force all its own that transforms us in the audience into spirits ourselves drifting through the narrative yet helpless to alter it, which only heightens the emotional stakes.

The Maiden was released about a year ago and according to comments on the Vimeo page, Chaves is working on a feature-length adaptation. I – and I suspect you too, soon – really, really hope that comes to fruition, because Chaves and team have birthed a very interesting and spine-tingling mythology here that deserves to be fleshed out.

Oh, and if the last shot doesn’t make you scream out loud, check your pulse, you might be a spirit yourself.

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