Features and Columns

Short of the Day: ‘Message Received’ is a Taut, Text-Based Thriller

A modern and twisted fable.
By  · Published on August 28th, 2017

A modern and twisted fable.

I don’t know if the “text thriller” is a subgenre yet, but if it is, then today’s short film selection fits squarely in the category. It’s called Message Received and it comes from director Stephen Herman, who took Best Director at the NYC CUNY Film Festival this year for his efforts.

Without giving away too much of the film’s spellbinding plot, it concerns a husband desperate to conceal a deep, dark secret from his wife, a secret held by an unknown other who is extorting him to keep it hidden. Told entirely in text messages, Herman crafts a tense and taut thriller with a most-unexpected ending. Betrayal, vengeance, intrigue – Message Received has all this in spades, resulting in a fresh film with familiar roots, a commentary on modern fidelity, and the perils of an anonymous society. Innovation abounds below.

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