The Howling Wind
Black and white poignant short movie from a brilliant duo, Lorian Gish & Justin Knoepfel really gets under the skin. Set in 1960’s America the film opens with a chilling warning on the radio of a strange storm, a wind that’s “infecting” people, the warning is simple, stay indoors. Which is what one patriotic American plans to do, then he discovers a man hiding in his basement, the two make friends, drink and make merry but on sobering up the presence of the stranger starts to erk the homeowner.
It’s incredibly dramatic, with damned near perfect acting and a charming retro feel about it both in the charming radio broadcasts to the vintage décor and 60’s noir feel about the entire movie. At times the sound is overthrown by a chilling soundtrack that Hitchcock would be proud of and the suspense cuts through the last half of the movie as strong shadowed cinematography takes over. Truly amazing work here.
A film made when a few friends were hanging out in the woods turns out to be a super cool symbolic nightmare with gorgeous wild shots. A flame haired girl awakes in the forest, just her and a cute (troll doll) alarm clock, while trying to get her bearings she encounters a few strange characters in the woods. This nightmarish rabbit hole is highlighted with curios more than scares. A sort of meld of Alice in Wonderland and Fifth Element!
For a spur of the moment idea filmed by a group of friends I’d love to see what they might come up with, if they gave themselves some time and planning
This black and white short experimental movie from Neo Kee Wei highlights a woman’s interactions with Social media. I must admit that I adore social media but I don’t let it affect me too much, I don’t let it change my beauty standards and I am able to turn it off.. but this isn’t the case with a lot of people and it’s majestically highlighted in this short which reminds me of the curated dreamy symbolic work of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Amer/The Strange Colour of Your Bodies Tears) not saying that anything has been copied but the strong use of blood and body parts are equally as striking.
Adam Howe’s sharp ghost story follows a young boy out walking his parents dog along the beach when his dog goes missing, frantically searching for the pooch he gives up, returns home to admit his mistake but then discovers he’s not the only one hunting.
The film gets a little wobbly towards the end it seems the hand held technique is a bit loose compared to the really tight landscape shots at the beginning, but it doesn’t deter from the fights and monstrous closing argument.
Adam Howe again.. I’m not sure how this series of movies all fit together but I will no doubt get to them all eventually. After an argument with a boyfriend a young girl heads out for a bike ride alone and trespasses on the wrong piece of land and is stalked by a shadowy figure. For the most part it’s pretty straight forward but you can see that classic ghost stories have influenced Howe’s modern movie and it’s really heartwarming to see that the oldies are still the goldies. Unfortunately it plods a bit and doesn’t have the added bonus of that extra bit of artistic flare as in The Beach but it’s an accomplished piece.
Something about this art house short reminds me of a stop motion piece than just your average Psychological Horror short. created by Tristan MG Aitchison and having the added bonus of tons of subtitles in different languages I feel most of the storytelling is done through the creative shots, creepy stills that zoom in on insects caught in cobwebs, strange vintage medical devices, taxidermy and all those unsettling things the Quay Brothers would make great use of in their movies. Aitchinson surrounds the abandoned home with creepy laughter, mumblings, animal screeches and tinkling piano music for that extra uneasy effect.
The main subject of the film is an elderly woman who moves from room to room of what seems to be an abandoned care home, re living the nightmares she experienced there, it’s quite heartbreaking at times, as a depression sweeps over the movie, as the shuffling aged figure moves through the darkened corridors whimpering, I think Maruene Pringle has done an amazing job in this touching film.
Door to Purgatory
While I really appreciate the hard work that has gone into this short movie there’s a lot which doesn’t make sense to me and my overthinking probably ruined the movie for me. The film follows a young girl whose aim is to stay in the oldest guest house in her state and seems to accidently open a door into purgatory, which just happens to be her room door.
The “ghost” is seen in the opening of the movie, so no surprises what’s going on there, the matradee/butler just doesn’t make sense, he’s standing in a random doorway, he’ll ask who the person is then randomly he knows and has their key in his hand.. like what? it’s just the little things which don’t add up that detract from a movies success, there’s a lot of clichés here when things go bump in the night but I do like the ethos of the movie and can only assume that Alexandra Balda is only starting out and with a bit of brushing up I think she can go places.
Jason Flemyng and Blake Ritson star in Neville Pierce’s short movie based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, I believe it’s in connection with The Cask of Amontillado? correct me if I’m wrong. With such seasoned actors there’s nothing negative about the acting and the production around them is pretty solid. The magic of the piece is how it works its way into the original story, it’s not a retelling exactly but a clever picture of the other side of the coin so to speak. We really need more of this in cinema.
Danny Darko’s debut short horror movie is quite an achievement, a brother and sister are out for a walk, taking in nature as they stroll along a river, when they decide to wander into the woods to take photos, meanwhile his sister notices a small fluffy toy doll, which isn’t too frightening until she realises their menacing intention as she desperately searches for her brother and safety. The dolls do look like those cute things you win at the fairground and aren’t hardly as menacing as they could be but I think this choice is to lull the viewer into a false sense of security.
What really makes the film bustle with professionalism is how the action is handled, the gorgeous cinematography and the cracking soundtrack, apart from that the intentions don’t seem to match up to the end result but it’s a great debut and I think DDark Films will be going places.
The Man Who Needed a Traffic Light
One of the earliest short movies from Mark Jenkin (according to the IMDB) and yes that’s Mark Jenkin who’s made what’s been called one of the best British Movies ever, Bait (2020). This short Black and White movie shows his fascination with out of towners trying to deal with small town situations.
The monochromatic short follows a man who pulls into a filling station only to get trapped on his way out, there’s no traffic light and a constant stream of traffic so he spends days waiting to pull out, sleeping in his car, filling up time and time again, luckily the locals feed and water him, he even does a little flirting.
The end is a little chilling and really knocks the comedy out of the movie entirely. It speaks on two levels, one of how modern city dwellers sometimes can’t survive without certain structures in their lives, you know the peep who is always upset when there’s no Wifi when out in the woods at night? On the other level it’s the breakdown of when these items or systems aren’t in place and there’s a clear indication of what Jenkin’s envisions for city folk who can’t function without traffic lights. When faced with having to do things the “old way” this guy crumbles and is pretty much a lost child. The films symbolism is golden and i’m’ sure you’ll pull something great from it
Hopefully you enjoyed this week’s list, if there are any short movies that you can recommend please let me know…
You can find a list of all my Short Movie Roundup’s here.