Director Jill Gevargizian proves to be a horror genius in this fifteen-minute short
The Stylist is one of the best shorts I’ve seen in a long time, offering a polished storyline and immaculate direction from Jill Gevargizian. With an impressive performance from leading lady Najarra Townsend, this short is a compelling piece or horror that will have you hooked from the beginning.
The Stylist begins in an ordinary looking salon, where Claire (Najarra Townsend) is finishing the day with her last client. Claire is like any other decent stylist; making conversation with Mandy (Jennifer Plas), listening to her prattle on about the big event she’s going to and such. This is the perfect way to trick any victim, by making them feel comfortable welcome in the environment, it’s easier to get what you want.
This is what I loved about the short, I didn’t know who was going to be the killer. Up until Mandy is asleep, it’s anyone’s game.
Claire drugs Mandy’s drink, and she slowly falls unconscious, allowing for Claire to get about her desires. Scalping Mandy’s freshly done mane of hair which she will use for a later purpose, this betrayal is terrifically gory and gag worthy. As soon as Mandy wakes up and begins to freak out, Claire must naturally kill her but does so in an almost comedic way. In this climax to the short, tension is built and the truth about Claire is revealed. She is the girl who murders customers for their hair, not the friendly girl who smiles at you as you enter the salon.
But then we see another side of Claire, the one who is insecure and desperate. As soon as Claire gets home with her new wig and puts it on, we see a big scar around her neck, presumably the thing that drives her to scalp women.
It’s great that we aren’t told anything about Claire or her past, or why she scalps people, we get to fill in those parts with our imagination. By avoiding the subject all together, this allows for the short to flow smoothly, a vital quality needed when you only have a fifteen-minute span to sculpt a story into.
The Stylist is a generous short giving director Jill Gevargizian good chances at furthering her career in horror. To me, it felt like the short could have been the opening 15 minutes to a feature horror film. It didn’t feel like I was waiting for a conclusion, or looking at a set with limited resources and skills.
The Stylist is equally chilling as it is genius, and I hope to see more from Gevargizian and Townsend in the realm of horror soon.