Experiencing Interruptions?


One married couple. One dark need. One unfathomable decision.

When a wife reveals to her husband a dark need to play god, he’s forced to make a decision - help her or save himself. But when the time comes to put his commitment to the test, he discovers he might not be the man he thought he was...

  • Vanessa Oxlad
  • Vanessa Oxlad
    The Starter Wife, La Noire, Big Brother
  • Ben McNeill
    Dying to Live, Cane Toads: The Conquest, The Standard of Perfection
  • Tanya Schneider
    Key Cast
  • Joey Vieira
    Key Cast
    San Andreas, Jungle, Bloody Hell
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Horror, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 27, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Foursome Entertainment
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Vanessa Oxlad

Vanessa Oxlad’s brand is one of simplicity: create top quality content that captivates the audience and ignites the imagination – across all genres and platforms.

Over a fifteen year career, Vanessa has made a number of Emmy award-winning and hit rating programmes all over the world for Network Ten, Seven, Nine, ABC, Nickelodeon, ABC USA & NBC Universal, and produced high-end multiplatform projects as well as an AAA rated video game.

From 'Married At First Sight' to song and dance infused preschool programming, Vanessa’s ability to adapt and produce killer content across genres and platforms has given her a wealth of experience across formats and demographics.

As the Executive Producer for Children’s Television at Network Ten, Vanessa oversaw an extensive production slate while creating, developing and producing new programs including DAA endorsed preschool program 'Crocamole', which enjoyed a successful 420x episode run.

Currently a Development Executive at Network Seven, Vanessa spends her days dreaming up new ways to entertain audiences.

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Director Statement

SMOTHER is an incredibly rich, emotional story about a couple who are madly in love, baring their souls to each other and proving the ones closest to us can hurt us the most. Whilst the treatment and structure heavily represents a psychological thriller, the themes of trust, love, betrayal, desire and disappointment provide a rich vein for complex character development, serving to heighten audience emotional response to a beautifully disturbing situation.

With the characters so intimately connected and their relationship so complex, casting and extracting authentic performances played a crucial role. This story provided an opportunity for crafting intense and layered performances, a challenge beautifully fulfilled by cast Tanya Schneider and Joey Vieira.

The classic psychological thriller ‘jump scares’ in this piece are driven by the juxtaposition of elements we would never expect to come together; a couple completely in love in an intimate and 'safe' setting - with a suffocation. What appears to be a violated wife attempting to escape, is actually a murder attempt. And the twist to this expectation: that her husband is not the bad guy we assumed, and the wife not the innocent we see revived.

These juxtapositions provided an opportunity to heighten the tension and discomfort through shooting style and grade. Beautiful, whimsical photography hard cutting to fast paced, gritty sequences where focus pulls redirect the eye and increase the impact of those unexpected moments. Stylized point of view shots gave the audience an almost first-person experience of the couple's relationship and the 'fright' moments serve to elevate this discomfort. Warm colours and grade lull the audiences into a false sense of security that is suddenly ripped away and replaced by cooler tones, building creepiness and a sense of foreboding.

The strong reversals and misdirects throughout the story provide the opportunity to build dramatic tension toward multiple impact and release moments, giving a pacing rooted in the emotional arc of the story that also pays homage to the psychological thriller paradigm. The aim is to give the audience both the experience of those jump scares, but also leave them feeling completely disturbed by the story in a way that repeats in their mind for days.