Written & Directed by Reed Shusterman
Cast: Amy Letcher, Stacey Moseley, Ty Puttenvink, J. Ellsworth Phillips, Jamie Cline
Runtime: 11 minutes
Release date: March 27, 2017
If The Chronicles of Narnia had a baby with the final LARP-ing scene from Role Models, the child would look similar to Goblin Queen, a new 11-minute short from writer/director Reed Shusterman. Described by Shusterman as “Narnia from the Mom’s point of view,” Goblin Queen is both heartwarming and action packed, on the level of films ten times its run time.
Amber Lynn (Amy Letcher) may seem like the average teenage daughter. She doesn’t have much to say to Mom, Winona (Stacey Moseley), and is always running off and disappearing, probably with that boy, you know, the one mom really doesn’t like. But Amber Lynn is not exactly like other teenage girls. You see she disappears with boys, except it’s actually disappearing and the boys are knights who believe her Queen of a magical land. Where the Narnia films take time and exquisite detail to examine every inch of the mystical faraway land, Goblin Queen takes a few minutes to depict Winona’s stress as she tries to figure out why her daughter is walking around covered in mud, men dressed as knights are showing up at her door, and of course, deal with the “not good enough for her” boyfriend Garth (Ty Puttenvink).
Soon, as in very soon (11-minutes people), Amber Lynn’s worlds are colliding and her mother is dragged in the middle. While the film contains knights in shining armor (J. Ellsworth Phillips), an actual goblin, and a pretty cool living room sword fight choreographed by the team that worked on Master and Commander and Hook, the film is really about the relationship between a mother and daughter. It is a unique take on an old narrative, and by keeping the action grounded in the real world rather than the magical one, it allows more empathy with the characters. As the father of a 6-year old girl, I was able to identify with Winona… yes, dad’s really think that far ahead with their baby girls.
I don’t want to say anymore because it’ll spoil it, but head over to Vimeo and check out Goblin Queen. It’s only 11 minutes and definitely worth more than its run time. I really think you’ll like it a lot. Reed Shusterman wrote and directed an original and unusual little movie. It reminded me of The Neverending Story, and even the Fred Savage/Peter Falk parts of The Princess Bride. The film made a successful festival run in both the UK and US, including stops at San Diego Comic Con Film Festival and Fantasmagorical Film Festival where the film won Best Fantasy Short.
Amber Lynn walks out on her mother, who doesn’t like her dating an older boy. While looking for Amber Lynn outside, a strange knight questions her about seeing the queen. Winona is suspicious when Amber Lynn comes back in rags, but doesn’t believe her story about a magical land until she vanishes before Winona’s eyes. Winona is protective when the knight begs Amber Lynn to return to rule the magical land, but Amber Lynn is forced into action when a goblin appears and kills the knight. Amber Lynn fights back against the beast, and kills it with Winona’s help, and then takes her mother to the magical land.