Thing at the Top of the Stairs, The / La cosa in cima alle scala (2012)

4.0 out of 5

Childhood fears and memories are unbearably potent but, at the same time, insubstantial and chimerical. Michele Torbidoni's short film uses the plot device of a cancelled flight to examine the effect of a traumatic upbringing upon a young man who visits the house he grew up in.

Cinematographer Angelo Stramaglia uses Expressionist lighting and a deft use of contrasting cold and warm colour schemes to juxtapose present and past. Torbidoni has a fantastic flair for an unusual camera angle and wonderfully symmetrical shot composition.

Gianluca D'Ercole impresses in the only role of substance, but, of necessity in such a short film, his character is fairly one-dimensional. Touches of Don't Look Now and, appropriately, The People Under The Stairs lead on to a climax that will certainly wrong-foot many.

There is something at the top of the stairs, but, perhaps, not what one expects.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics