• Jim Peakman

Midlands Movies Review "The Shimian" (short film)

Updated: Feb 18

"The Shimian

Directed by James Peakman


Bader Media Entertainment CIC

A creepy horror short from regional director James Peakman arrives online with his new fright film The Shimian now available to watch.

We begin with the sound of thunder and lightning as well as rain lashing down outside. An old woman (Sonia Lloyd as Lady Jane) settles down in bed for the evening. but as drifts off to sleep she is awoken by a maid (Fiona Dunn) who sits on the bed.

The maid queries whether the old lady has taken all her pills and looks to the bedside to see an empty pill box and a small brass dinner bell.

The maid’s countenance seems very strange hinting at something sinister lurking beneath her seemingly kind ways. Even when she says she’ll leave the woman in peace, the words ring hollow.

And after a long pause she adds a spine-chilling “Don’t let the bed bugs bite”. *shudder*

As the lights go off, the room is bathed in a cool blue and the ominous score combined with weird sounds begins to create an atmosphere of dread.

We, and Lady Jane, listen to strange and distorted screams getting louder each time and echoing around the room. Is it just a dream? And then she is awoken again by some knocking (or footsteps) that feel like they’re getting closer and closer.

The old woman appears petrified and hides under the sheets. As she rings the bell for help, neither her maid or anyone else comes to her aid and we witness something moving under her duvet. Is this the Shimian? What IS the Shimian? The closest I could find was a Chinese translation that suggests it is “to suffer from insomnia”. Whether that’s accurate I don’t know but this lady certainly won’t be sleeping soundly.

Whatever the unknown entity that’s slowly crawling under her bed sheets is, it moves up towards the headboard and as she lifts up the sheets and takes one look at it (we never see it) the old lady bursts out screaming. And that, sadly, is it.

The short is a fun little skit but it really acts a trailer for some other film that is a bit more fleshed out. The abrupt ending is more frustrating than intriguing and unfortunately there’s not much more to note in its limited 3 minutes.

On a technical level, the sound is good, the cinematography solid and the two actresses do well with the meagre content they’re given but

I hope this is a calling card for a follow up film as there’s definitely an opportunity to expand this fleeting bedtime horror story.

Michael Sales"

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