Short Movie Roundup 20 February 2022

Night Bus

On the eve of her 30th birthday a Black London bus driver finds a strange entity on her night bus. Taking the unusual turn of not having a screaming blonde teenager as their main character, directors Henrietta and Jessica Ashworth have made a strong independent black woman a viable strong heroine. Using atmospheric sounds and clever camera work they build up as the bus ride begins to rattle the nerves of the young woman.

The feisty London attitude really kicks in after the bus gets a mind of it’s own and attempts to drive off Christine style but the battle is on when the entity begins to move around and the doors are locked.

It’s such a powerful and highly creepy showdown between creepy old hag type entity and Lakisha from Bromwell High, and rare that a female character decided to kick ass straight away but our girl is like “Na Mate” and goes MMA on this laughing ghoul. It’s refreshing and has a solid execution.

The Lookout

Lookouts have been the subject of a lot of creepy pasta styled short stories but rarely feature in movies, and this cracking short from Katherine Oostman is a prime example of why we really need more Lookout horrors. When a fire lookout gets a strange call for help over her raio she ventures into the pitch black forest to investigate.

Venturing out alone into a forest that you already know one person is struggling in is one brave thing to do, but once you begin to start finding strange cobwebs, it’s already time to nuke that particular forest from orbit.. Instead our brave heroine keeps up the investigation and attempts to help where she can but can anyone ever realize when they have been trapped until it’s too late.

Early on anyone watching this will believe that they have worked out

Disappear

What’s better than a bit of Stop Motion cinema.. black and what stop motion!! This darling piece by Hendrikus De Vaan follows a man haunted by his past and pestered by his present. The moody atmosphere is enhanced by a small magic act that he sets up when the world gets too much. We’d all like to vanish from time to time but what if we had the ability to make ourselves disappear?

It raises questions about mortality and what happens when a person leaves. We all know that life goes on right, but without aiming to be anything other than insightful there’s a hollow feeling in the wake of this movie, that just might leave you pondering a few of life’s mysteries too.

Eskos

There’s something special about this 10 minute Stop Motion marvel from director Barnaby Dixon. There’s a lot of homage to the Quay brothers work, not only in tone and motion but the visceral objects. A pair of robotic characters carry out tasks of butchery and packaging of fish, but a bird-like creature begins howling; it disturbs one of the characters and it’s presence rings in a mount of changes.

It’s really cleverly done, the animation itself is smooth and faultless, the sound was put together by Matt Loveridge and accompanies the surreal landscape perfectly. There’s some adoration for the “loose ends’ ‘ of the film, how bean cans and wire hoops are not dressed up as extra items.

The Hole

This uncanny short movie features a series of rooms, that even without characters are torn apart and partly restored after being “attacked” by unseen forces. It’s apparent that someone’s home is in the middle of a bloody battle but seeing the guts and bones of a home, a school or even a lavatory blown apart and then reassembled for life in a war zone is chilling. It’s a sterling concept and executed so well by Ghaith Mahmoud & Mayar Nouri.

Waste Away

Elly Stern’s magical movie is pretty surreal, a homeless woman takes a piss in an alleyway and encounters a discarded fish that changes her life..

I love when stop motion directors get creative with materials and the use of plastic as the ocean is quite clever and poignant. There’s a serene connection with motherhood and taking care of the planet. Once the woman has a reason to be strong and fight for survival nature takes over and the story shifts into one about how we perceive nature attacking us when in reality it’s just trying to settle the status quo after all of our damage. It’s insightful and extremely thought provoking.