Hidden Memory covers a murder investigation that twists around a single witness.
In director and writer Alejandro Figarella’s short film, Hidden Memory, not everything is what it seems. Focused on a murder investigation a few years old, the film relies on suspense to drive its plot and, to varying degrees, this works. With an interesting story, the film promises a great deal of twists and turns which it delivers for the most part.
Detective Harris (played by Victor Hernandez) tracks an unknown assailant whose only markers are a black robe and an affinity for alleys. His investigation spans years, all spent poring over his notes trying to find a single clue. Hernandez plays Detective Harris with panache and shouts his way into every scene. His performance keeps the screen from feeling empty, as he takes up a copious amount of room in gestures and language. While the screen is meant to be shared by the three main players, Hernandez makes sure that Detective Harris takes up most of the scenes.
In his quest to find the killer, Harris finds a witness who survived an attack. The witness, John Erebos (played by Raphael Tobias), clams up when asked about the murder and must be sent into a dissociative state by Dr. Laquan (played by Edward Davis), using a metronome in order to pull the events out of him. Tobias does a good job of playing the worried witness and makes the character’s distress feel believable. Opposite Hernandez’s performance, the subtlety is all the more apparent and the two balance each other out.
John begins to remember further into the past, right until he and his friend, Ashley (played by Yue Wang), are attacked. Then his memories start to go fuzzy, moving in and out of focus. He remembers seeing the killer, hands bloody, and, as Harris and Dr. Laquan wait with baited breath, the unexpected occurs.
Hidden Memory does have moments which prove interesting and engaging. When John is first being questioned about his knowledge of the crime, there’s an edge of suspense that carries through his entire interrogation. The overall look of the film is also pristine and evokes other murder mystery films like Zodiac. The yellowish lighting makes everything have an edge and the ticking of the metronome keeps the viewer just uncomfortable enough. Figarella does know how to keep a sense of tension going and that’s reflected in his filmmaking.
Hidden Memory was released in 2016 and runs at 5 minutes.