A few years back, filmmaker John Panton made waves with his short Line Signal, a chronicle of a lone woman’s spectacularly spooky trail run. Now he’s back with Surveyor, another tale of a regular person who just happens to stumble into some very unsettling surroundings.
As you might suspect, the main character is a building surveyor who’s summoned to check an abandoned mansion for a client who intends to renovate and repurpose the building. But the house, a crumbling architectural marvel, isn’t exactly a welcoming place (though it is the perfect setting for a ghost story). We’ve all seen haunted-house tales that start like this, and Surveyor is so short that it doesn’t spend much time fleshing out its story. What makes this film so enjoyable is its commitment to atmosphere—no small feat for a very brief story that takes place during the day—with eerie sounds and images that flicker through the frame, teetering on the subliminal.