The Madame in Black is a Swedish short film directed by Jarno Lee Vinsencius whose previous short ‘Darkness Falls’ was certainly memorable for its outstanding cinematography which oozed atmosphere from every shot.
Madame in Black boasts a similar cinematic experience packaged neatly into an effective 20-minute supernatural chiller.
The plot follows a group of friends and the familiar ‘Madame in Black’ mirror game (that ‘Bloody Mary’ to all of us in UK/USA). Say her name 3 times and she comes to you. In a brief introduction is it explained to us that the titular Madame is one Countess Kristina Benediktsdotter, who was supposedly burned alive at the stake in 1633 for witchcraft and the murder of her own family. Having already played the game as children, and having experienced an apparition, Alex and his sister Emma convince their respective partners to play the game once more! Once the game is finished the fun starts.
The plot plays out as you might expect, with the Madame turning up in all the places you might encourage her to do if you were trying to give someone a heart attack. Her peek-a-boo tactics include (but are not limited to) windows, doorways and mirrors. The film is an exercise in tension, something the film excels at creating. Due to the effective build-up of atmosphere it is a genuinely scary experience and will be sure to give all but the hardiest of viewers a jolt at some point. The reveal is somewhat less terrifying, but in keeping with the films direction. Indeed, for all its simplicity the film does well to hold onto its reveal right up until the last few scenes.
Overall, ‘The Madame in Black’ is as much a visual feast as it is entertaining. It’s well acted, and whilst the story might not be desperately original and the jump scare elements somewhat cliché, it is a formula that works. It isn’t hard to see why it has been so well received. Recommended.