By Clifford Miu | Drama
A young mother asks a 911 operator for permission to shoot an impending intruder.

A young widow, grappling with her loss, is holed up in her house on New Year's Eve as celebrations sound off around her in the neighborhood. Tonight, though, she's tending to her newborn.

But a home intruder tries to get inside their house, sending the young mother to call 911, her own gun in hand. As the intruder ramps up their efforts, the mother asks the 911 operator for permission to shoot. What she does next may be the difference between life and death for her and her baby.

Writer-director Clifford Miu's tense short thriller puts viewers firmly in the POV of the young mother, unspooling the intensely engaging action in real-time and limiting our knowledge and information to what the main character sees and knows.

Captured in real-time and in one place with energetic yet precise camerawork, the story essentially captures a crucial incident in one woman's life. Beat by beat, the effective performances escalate with the sound and images to ratchet up the fear and tension, and by the climax, hearts should be pounding as the mother makes her final choice.

The narrative may be limited to one real-time incident -- and the thrills may be at the forefront of the film -- but it also managed to unpack how social hot-button issues like gun rights and castle doctrine intersect in everyday lives. The film doesn't take sides, espouse any position or take positions, but it shows itself aware of what's going on politically and socially in the world, incorporating it seamlessly into its drama. It might startle some when the mother asks permission to shoot, but the drama also indicates an awareness about how issues we see and read about on the news can intimately impact our instinctual reactions.

"Porcupine" is a deftly wrought piece of entertainment, weaving all elements of film craft to create a heart-pounding experience that lets us see and feel the world through another's eyes. But with its subtle element of social awareness, the short gains an element of thoughtfulness that is never heavy-handed, but substantial enough to provoke reflection along with its thrills.

You Might Also Like:


By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...


By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.


By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I'm Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.