The Ark

By Benjamin South | Sci-Fi
2 assassins are sent to kill a woman. But only one knows the truth...

Two assassins named Herbert and Jacinda wait outside the hotel where their target is staying. Neither of them knows one another; their organization pairs them together anonymously for their protection.

They meet for the first time, go over the target -- a dangerous woman set to deliver a "package" tomorrow --and devise a plan to take her out. But soon they begin to question their mission. Are they going to administer justice, or are they committing murder? Only one of them knows the truth.

Directed by Benjamin South and written by A.M. Khalifa from his own short story, this layered, taut sci-fi short blends thoughtful, dynamic craft and intricate world-building and storytelling. The result is an entertaining, engaging thriller that intrigues and lures viewers into a complicated, political netherworld that teases at questions of identity, allegiance and power.

Shot with a dark, polished gleam, the narrative balances many layers, blending past and present and the political and personal. But the core of the story is the scene between the two assassins, Herbert and Jacinda. These two strangers have to trust one another and work together in a high-tension situation.

Despite the relatively intimate narrative core, the film has an expansive sense of the world using the characters' dialogue to envision the break-in and assassination. The film shows off its action-genre bona fides in these sequences with panache, but the real tension comes between the characters when one begins to doubt the rightness of what they're doing.

Actors Shaq B. Grant and Laura Hana as Herbert and Jacinda, respectively, play the pair of assassins with both cool competence and more human flickers of hesitation and apprehension. But there is more than meets the eye, revealing even deeper layers of deception than one of them realizes.

Coolly intriguing and handsomely mounted as a production, "The Ark" is a rich world, with a preponderance of ideas and world-building that the short film format constrains somewhat. But the fundamental elements are strong, and they hint at a much larger storytelling arena for a series or feature. A mid-end credits scene also indicates a wider story beyond the conclusion, as well as even bigger questions of fanaticism, power and indoctrination. But even in this more compact format, "The Ark" expertly teases at a darker, unseen underbelly under the tidy surfaces of civilization -- a feeling perhaps peculiar to modern society, and ripe for bringing to life.

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.