Review: Pity (Short – 2014)

Written by Jay Kay (host of Horror Happens Radio Show)

PITY is Directed by John Pata, Written by J.R. Hayes and adapted by John Pata (Head Trauma Productions).


Do you know someone who has lost something so essential or have you ever hit rock bottom? A time in your life where the pain is so great from a source that was so close to you on every level… Those moments you wish would never come to anyone but in the same breath are a welcomed release to yourself down deep in the dark parts of your being. Finding a personal connection and understanding of dealing with the darkness, John Pata (Dead Weight) brings the encompassing dark tale of PITY, his latest short film.

Based on a short story PROWLER IN THE YARD within the linear notes from the band Pig Destroyer, Pata transforms the fierce descriptive and engulfing lines into a seven minute short film that takes the viewer on journey into darkness of man who is on the brink. An award winning writer and director, Pata discussed the feelings invoked by the writings of J.R. Hayes.

Pity Still 3“I remember reading it and that was the most beautifully disturbing story I ever read! It was something I could not shake. There was something about the writing that stuck with me, there were little details in it that made it feel so real.”

Bringing to life the man known as Anonymous was no easy challenge. Burdened with such emotion and torment as he sits in a car watching the lit window through the rainy night, Pata talked about the talented actor Jake Martin and what he had to possess to pull off this role.

“I don’t know if people understand how intense that role is to take on. It’s just him in a car. He had no one to work off of,”

Pata said. As a viewer, you really don’t know anything about their relationship except for the mad ravings, voyeurism, coping actions and dark thoughts by Anonymous that captivates as well as frightens you.

Using a variety of makeup and practical effects by Sarah Sharp and Ben Larson, Martin’s transformation of this character (physically, emotionally and mentally) is a terrifying study in the human monster that sits inside the cage in all of us.

“That person is in all of us. We are all capable of that and sometimes we need to be reminded just of that. For the past seven days he’s been alone and this is his hell! We see the effects of what this is doing inside of himself,” said Pata.

PITY finds the character of Anonymous descending into each level of hell within his soul as he fights to find the reason not to do something that will change him forever.

Framed to a disturbing intimacy that allows us to voyeur with Anonymous, Robert Patrick Stern’s cinematography is on point and finds the macabre with ghostly lighting that enhances the transformation and harks back to the classic Universal Monster movies and Hammer style film transformations (think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). Pata; who handles most of the crew hats, does this short film justice in the post production and editing. He has the eye to trim the excess off and keep the pace tight and tense.

jpBeyond the physical pain of Martin’s character and the transformation, the haunting monologue that Anonymous unleashes builds like a rope slowly snapping and coming apart. Anonymous’s voice fluctuates between paced and powerful with each word a heartbeat of madness not reflected with such effectiveness since the writings of Poe. The atmosphere inside the car along with the unrelenting rain and soundscape is never overwhelming and represents an unpredictable symbol of Anonymous’s deterioration into the final minutes of PITY.

“The entire soundscape is created with the actor’s voice. Nick Elert used all the raw files of the voice, screams, breathing and sounds putting them through a process and turning them into notes.”

It all leads up to a tension filled conclusion that you know there is no turning back from and no way out of the horrors of the human experience.

Watch the award winning short film PITY right now at PITYFILM.COM and listen to the conversation from the October 6th episode of the Horror Happens Radio Show at

Check out more great horror reviews and interviews here.

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