I may not live the busiest life, but it is still extremely difficult for me to lounge around and watch as many films as I’d like. Sometimes, with my work schedule and my pretty strict gym routine, I’m lucky if I even get two films in, any given week. It is times like this that I thank the good Lord for short films… although, after watching VRVLVM’s Ether Riders of the Narthrak, it seems that my thanks are more suited for a Dark Lord of the deepest depths of Hell.
Two figures, shrouded in black attire from head to toe, are walking through a swampy forest performing some unknown ritual.
I generally like to describe films in more detail than what you just read as the plot synopsis, but there is really not much more that can be said this time around.
Filmed in black and white, Ether Riders of the Narthrak is 27 minutes of nightmare fuel. With 99% of the film drowned out by a static-heavy droning score, there is zero dialog (hence no cool, witty quote as a title for this review) and quite frankly it is difficult to tell what is actually occurring at certain points throughout.
There is no doubt that there are two figures performing what looks to be some sort of ritualistic ceremony. There are brief glimpses of bodies, presumably dead ones, strewn about the ground, leading me to believe that these two are into something much more sinister than just playing around in the woods.
Even with my 27 minutes of confusion, I could not keep my eyes from the screen. I was entranced for the short’s entirety and could not help myself from staring into the horrifying abyss that is Ether Riders of the Narthrak.
I was made aware of this one when I received an email one day from who I assume is the film’s director. I will not say his real name, as it seems he is marketing himself simply as VRVLVM. Always having an open mind, I quickly responded to VRVLVM and welcomed the opportunity to check out his work.
I am ashamed to say that this occurred almost four months ago and I am just now getting around to watching Ether Riders of the Narthrak. While I feel that I am not the best audience for a film of this nature, I am still glad that I gave it a watch.
Ether Riders of the Narthrak is not one that I see myself revisiting, but I can still recommend it for several reasons.
This film will leave you feeling uneasy and agitated; It is unnerving right from the start and does not let up for its entirety.
Everything this short has to offer, from the aesthetic — imperfect, scratched, and filthy — to the assaulting soundtrack, will stick with you well after your DVD player is turned off.
I would recommend it mostly to fans of independent cinema who are looking for something fresh and new, something more visceral than the average low-budget horror flick. My first thought would be any and all fans of the more vicious Unearthed Films releases, but that is not to say that more of you guys shouldn’t watch this, as well.
Ether Riders of the Narthrak isn’t gory and it isn’t the most insane horror film I’ve ever seen, but it is extremely unsettling for reasons that I am clearly having a difficult time putting into words.
If you want to experience it for yourself, I recommend visiting VRVLVM and Master Kontrol Audio’s official website. Here, you can pick up a copy of the DVD, along with the film’s soundtrack and more.
I want to personally thank the individual who sent me this home release, and I am going to give Ether Riders of the Narthrak a final Repulsive Rating of 3 eerie druids out of 5.