After a lot of soul searching I have narrowed down my favourite shor movies reviewed last year! I missed a LOT of weeks and promise to so better this year (heard that before?) but here we go for the best of the best of my discoveries last year and all the best to any director making movies this coming year, no matter how your project turns out your work and dedication is worth it and appreciated.
Bereaved parents order a new son from a toxic advert on the TV, the self assembly box is a monstrous blobfish screaming baby who had murderous intentions. Ray Sullivan’s surreal is a cross between Lynch’s Eraserhead and the iconic world, Autodale creatured by the fantastic artist James Armsby. There’s a serious unsettling feeling throughout the terrifying story that’s a strange analogy to a possible reality for some people.. just mull that over.
From the director of, Self Assembly Ray Sullivan, his desire to make short films with lots of effects goes in a different direction with this sci-fi special that feels like an episode of Starship Troopers. A handful of mercenaries are on a distant planet selling weapons to one species of crustacean like aliens, but everyones morals are in question as one species gets fucked over. It’s a mini masterpiece which could probably open up bigger doors but probably due to it being so close to the Troopers series it might not be so happily welcomed?
A vaporwave nightmare is the overarching atmosphere to Nathan Bunkers short film, a husband attempts to keep his wife safe while she performs strange maneuvers while sleepwalking, one night she eventually leaves the house and he being to learn that it’s not simply sleep walking but an otherworldly form of mind control.
There’s a variance to the color scheme once the “sleep” world takes over, and it really could have gone fully Cosmatos but there’s a new age horror feel to it, something between Mandy and Censor. but also it’s hard not to see a touch of early Michael Mann in this budding director.
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.
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.
Directed by MP Mills, Blood Orange has that old time sentimental voice over to a crippling dangerous story. When a blind man’s guide dog vanishes and he’s visited by an old (sadistic) friend. He does what he knows best, he makes some Blood Orange juice (recipe included in the final scenes of the movie). Being so vulnerable, especially without his pooch, he attempts to raise the alarm but isn’t taken seriously. It’s a deep dive down a really disturbing rabbit hole and will really mess up any animal lovers but there’s a refreshing ending which is on par with Perfume. A really challenging and thought provoking movie.
I’m sure I have written something about this film before, it has two of my favorite things in it, werewolves and a bag of chips! Yep, that’s the key factor to this creepy film. Directed by Byron / JC Films and boosted with a soundtrack from White Bat Audio. There’s a real sense of retro danger in the night in this slow burner about a man who, after chilling with his homies and eating a bag of chips that should have been recalled, has a strange moment in the light of the full moon. With hints of American Werewolf in London and The Stuff, don’t miss this one.
Eren Celeboglu and Ari Costa’s (AKA The Rebels) is a modern day ghost story set in the Middle East is littered with wars with humankind and wars with the undead bride. A prisoner and her guard talk about the legend of the bride, a woman suspected to have been sold into marriage and burnt alive when she fought back.
Can the death of one vengeful woman bring other women together or will her presence only cause more bloodshed? Whatever the outcome, the encounter is terrifying and filmed in such a masterful way that it gives energy to the poignant messages that the short leaves it’s audience with, be it about gender, sexuality and family honor. For me it’s also a prime example for the need for more African ghosts in films for sure!
This intense film from Carlota Pereda, has finally been made into a feature length, but what is it about this painful coming of age movie that sparked so much interest.
It’s easy to grasp that the film is about a larger girl, one who’s obviously going to be teased at some point during the movie, so if that’s a trigger for you, step away. The lead in this wild movie is picked on by a group of giggling girls, narrowly escapes a potential serial killer then is prayed on by a carful of jocks but it’s the serial killer aspect which really pushed the envelope, how this will pull into a feature will be exciting.
The Strange Ones
This mini mystery from Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein, was eventually turned into a equally cryptic feature length movie, only just about managing to add some answers to the millions of questions to the lives of the two drifters that the films follow. In the short a man and his son stop off at a motel, all seems innocent until the boy reveals their real relationship. If his words are the truth or not, alarm bells ring out throughout this slow paced suspenseful movie that really grips it’s audience who will be desperate to know who the pair are and why they are so covert about their identity. Ultimately you’ll need to watch the film for one idea of the backstory, but this gem is filmed in such a way that anything could be a possibility and that makes it magic, what do you think is going on?
This short animation following a mouse trying to find happiness is almost an internet cult classic. It’s easier to see our flaws when it’s another species going through the motions, but if you watch this and still think that happiness is something you can find outside of yourself then you need to watch it again. Steve Cutts is a total legend for this. How often do pioneering directors try to warn us as we blissfully stroll into the void.
Another fun and super creepy film from Social House, this one taking it’s viewers into a VR adventure. It has more potential than the short allows but it’s another classic under the belt and one i hope they return to soon with more oomph.
Justin Brooks’s torturous movie centers around a young woman who locks herself away to fight her demons, however they begin to fight her from the inside out. Powerful body horror with hints of the magic of St Maud in its subtle filming technique and hazy style of inner fears brought to life. Even the young girl’s nickname highlights her torment, Scarlett is known simply as Scar but it becomes apparent what’s happening when Scar looks outside to see what she can see. .
With only a few hundred dollars and non professional actors, Félix Dobaire has crafted something pretty spectacular. An accident occurs while a couple are having their dinner. Wanting some meat, the husband accidentally kills his wife. Desperate to get rid of her body his method seems to have a knock on effect with his crops as the vegetables begin to grow flesh, bones and teeth. David Cronenberg, welcome to the new flesh!
When a fake healer attempts to exercise a woman possessed by a Djinn, his fake work is spotted by her husband and things become complicated as the truth slowly seeps out of Hana Kazim’s beautifully shot and engrossing short movie.
Initially we’re lead down a supernatural path only for the carpet to be stripped out from under the feet of the audience as well as one of the main cast.The twist in the movie hits much harder than any of the long drawn out hollywood epics, There’s a sharp and hard lesson to be learnt here.
A psychological horror from The Horroring channel, this art house adventure splices a mix of photography and time lapses together to simulate a very chaotic inner world of a disturbed individual. It’s only 5 minutes but it’s enough.. but I feel it’s only scratching the surface of what some people have harboring inside of them.. and that makes this scary AF!
There are some really amazing moments captured within the reel of shorts, and the amalgamation of different clips, stills and vignettes set against an equally changing soundtrack really work without telling an exact story; it’s more of a texture to a mind unhinged.
Zachary Padgett’s movie is fresh and modern, with an intriguing story which is it among other horror favorites like Wounds or The Night House. When a photographer attempts to take a long exposure of the night sky he finds words written in the stars, attempting the same project on another night he begins a long deep dive into a cryptic rabbit hole as more words appear.
With a delicate approach to cinematography and a haunting soundtrack the film is subilty lit in seas of darkness and stirring mysterious sounds and music, for the most part Shutter remains dreamlike until the nightmare starts.
Padgett explores the unknown entities in the darkness much like Lovecraft before him, but with a new sharper lense although the ending seemed to have puzzled a lot of people, if you’re watching on the tube the comments will help you decipher the wording.
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.