CRAM (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

CRAM (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Jack Campion on October 26th, 2021 | Movie Review | Cursed, Supernatural, College, Isolation

Add CRAM (2021) to your Watchlist

Add to Watchlist

You need to login or register to add this movie to your horror watchlist.

A slacker student spends the night before his paper deadline trying to cram as much work as possible, only to find forces other than time are working against him.

CRAM was directed by Abie Sidell and stars John DiMino,  Brandon Burton, and Jane Bradley.

School sucks

CRAM (2021)

It’s the day before the deadline. All of your peers are finishing up their essays and you’re staring at a near-blank page full of half-thoughts and contextless critical quotes. All you can think about is how much time you wasted in the run up to this, and how inevitably crap the work you produce in the wee hours before the deadline is going to be. You have no choice but to CRAM.

CRAM takes the concept of a poor work ethic and makes a horror movie out of it - an ingenious concept when you think about it. What could be scarier than knowing that no matter how hard you cram the night before the deadline, you’re screwed either way. It's something we’ve all experienced - we’ve either known someone like the protagonist or, as the writer of this article can attest to, been in the exact same position (more than once in my case).

Coming from Radical Rhinoceros pictures, this short film’s strengths lie in the great cinematography of Felix Handte and a solid lead performance by John DiMino. The stark lighting of the library along with plenty of steadicam-movement and off putting angles creates a real sense of unease and isolation, reminiscent of Kubrick’s style. Creepy visuals are pulled off with flair, and are genuinely creepy for the most part, though I must admit some forced me to stifle a laugh.

The performance of its lead played by John DiMino, whose sleep deprived eyes and hangdog demeanour make the viewer sympathetic towards his struggle - a victim of himself, he goes from desperate to desperater. His own personal issues are implied in the background but never fully revealed, increasing our suspicions towards the reality we are being presented.

One of the weaker aspects of the film comes from the performance of the supporting cast, who all sound like the same whiny hipsters. Their California drawl makes everything sound sarcastic and they definitely move over to the irritating part of the character spectrum. Fortunately they aren’t in the film a great deal - this is very much a character study, with Marc Lack pulling much of the focus towards him and away from the lesser aspects of the film.

The writing seems to muddle the relationships that Marc has with said peer group. It was never clear as to whether or not they were his friends or just people he knows. Alice, played by Carolina Do, comes closest to resembling a friend. Still, she and other ‘friends’ seem to berate him unnecessarily. There are parts of the film where this hostility is more pronounced, so their stand-offish nature is certainly intentional, but it makes it perhaps less of a shock when these things happen due to them never seeming like they like Marc in the first place.

The film’s horror elements come from the desperation of the protagonist as he is acted upon by malevolent forces, twisting his and the viewer’s sense of reality, resulting in a mind-bending journey that raises questions about the truth to the events we see unfold. An unconventional horror film to say the least, but one that manages to entertain rather than confound for the most part.

Worth Watching?

If you fancy something a little different and a little weird, you could do a lot worse than this. The unique premise along with creepy visuals and a short running time means the film gives back a lot more than it asks of you.

CRAM Review (2021) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

Would it Kill You to Subscribe?

Get horror news, reviews and movie recommendations every Friday!

We respect your email privacy