Fire stunt

New genre short BALLiSTIC mixes Mad Max and Black Mirror to tremendous effect

Contributed by
Jul 4, 2018, 4:40 PM EDT (Updated)

Late last year, we wrote about an exciting short film called SENTiNEL, written and directed by up-and-comer Ryan Connolly. The short delivered extremely high-quality storytelling and effects with a very tiny budget, and now Connolly is now back with the next installment in what could be a four-part series of short films.

His new short is called BALLiSTIC, and it ramps up the action as well as the ambition. It clocks in at at little over 17 minutes, which is three times the length of SENTiNEL, and the story is much more intricate than the previous film. Taking place in the same dystopian sci-fi world (as well as that in another short by Connolly, called PROXiMITY), BALLiSTIC finds a young woman named Dana (wonderfully played by Hannah Ward) trying to outsmart a host of bad guys intent on killing her. As with the film that came before, an ominous digital countdown on her wrist lets Dana know how much time she has left. 

Though the main story involves Dana refusing to go quietly into that good wasteland night (and using every gun, bomb, and rearview mirror around to help), we also get flashbacks to what made Dana into such a survivor in the first place. The full film can be seen below, or viewed on YouTube or Vimeo. So check it, then we'll discuss more after the jump... 

Not only do you get the pathos of a mother knocking a teddy bear out of her daughter's hands and replacing it with a gun, you also get a man blowing up and falling down while on fire. In other words, there's something for everyone! 

SYFY WIRE corresponded with Ryan Connolly, who told us that he has ideas for a fourth short (that would presumably feature the final stage, referenced in the ending here), but that he would also "love to graduate these into feature films or longer series" to really start answering the many questions about the world that these shorts have taken place in. 

BALLiSTIC wears its genre hallmarks on its digitally implanted wrist, and Connolly says that artistic inspirations The Abyss, The Terminator, Edge of Tomorrow, Children of Men, and Mad Max almost certainly found an indirect (or direct) way into influencing how the film feels. He also mentioned the work of David Fincher and Alfred Hitchcock, and how those influences can be felt in the flashback sequences. 

With a budget that is a fourth (or a fifth) of what was really needed, Connolly and his team show that they know how to do a lot with a little. They key to making it work? According to Connolly, it is planning and teamwork. "I'd say the biggest hurdle was time," he said, while mentioning that cutting their shoot time down dramatically was the only way everything got done. 

What could come next? Connolly is working on several feature ideas at the moment, and is "really interested in exploring horror, thriller, sci-fi, and action more." As he says, "there’s so many beautiful and impactful stories that can be told within genre films." 

If you are interested in taking a look behind the scenes of the film, take a gander right here, or check out the video below. 

Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker