I was so stoked when Fantasia 2019 announced their short block list, especially their annual Born of Woman shorts block. There is a plethora of fantastic shorts to explore with incredible talent behind each one. They may be short, but they pack a whole lotta bite!
The Boogeywoman was directed by Erica Scoggins with a cast starring Amélie Hoeferle, Katherine Morgan, and John Henry Ward.
In the fever of her first period, a curious teenager is drawn to her small town’s local legend, only to find that the “Boogeywoman” is flesh and blood–the mother she never had.
This short was absolutely fantastic in all aspects. It was like the perfect coming of age story mixed with horror elements. The cinematography and performances were amazing and the ending was unexpected. Some aspects reminded me of the beloved werewolf film, Ginger Snaps and they would make an awesome double feature.
Girl in the Hallway
Girl in the Hallway is an animated feature directed by Valerie Barnhart with music by Alex Mandel.
Why does ‘Little Red Riding hood’ give Jamie nightmares? It’s been 15 years, and the girl in the hallway haunts him still. This is a testament to locked doors. A lullaby sung by wolves with duct tape and polaroids. Not all girls make it out of the forest. Some stories children shouldn’t hear.
I love everything about this short but most of all the imagery. The imagery was fucking fantastic. Hauntingly beautiful and went perfect with the story.
The Hitchhiker was directed by Adele Vuko and stars Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet).
Jade hits the road to Byron Bay with two besties, resolving to keep her terminal diagnosis on the down-low. When an enigmatic hitchhiker makes her an offer, she finds it hard to refuse.
I loved this story and once again was completely shocked at the ending. Liv Hewson is one of my favorite actresses and she killed it in this role. She gives an emotional and powerful performance that steals the show. All of the other characters were great and I love that “kamra is going to bite your ass” scene!
Lili was directed by Yfke Van Berckelaer with a cast starring Lisa Smit and Derek de Lint.
Nothing is what it seems in this one-shot horror for the #metoo era, when an audition between a young woman (Lisa Smit) and an older man (Derek de Lint) turns into an unsettling cat and mouse game.
This was one of my favorite shorts out of the bunch and made me utterly uncomfortable. Mostly because this stuff happens. It happens all the time and it’s messed up and I’m glad the director shined a light on this ugly and unsettling game of cat and mouse. The ending was superb – revenge has never tasted so good! Also, Lisa Smit is absolutely wonderful, she reminds me a of a young Nicole Kidman.
Maggie May was directed by Mia’kate Russell with a cast starring Lulu McClatchy, Katrina Mathers, and Sophia Davey.
Sam’s sister Maggie May has always been different. So after the death of their mother, she takes her twin babies to spend the weekend, and help her out. But Maggie isn’t interested in being helped. She isn’t interested in anything. The hours go by and soon the smell of blood fills the air, and the sound of babies crying can’t be escaped. But look at Maggie. Can you blame her? So much pain around her but is it really her fault? She didn’t do anything.
This one also made me completely uncomfortable and it was one of the most disturbing film experiences I’ve ever encounter – and yes I’ve seen A Serbian Film. I mean it’s horrifying watching this story play out and the lack of empathy or compassion from Maggie is horrendous. You can smell the blood and stench of decay radiating off the screen because of the intense yet beautifully dark imagery and solid performances. The FX and Makeup is also amazing – the best in this particular short block.
The Original was directed by Michelle Garza Cervera with a cast starring Ariana Lebron Baez, Rebecca Layoo, Ingrid Evans, and Jay Robertson.
Alana is struggling to keep her relationship alive as her partner suffers with a debilitating illness. A new medical procedure offers the answer to their prayers, but not without forcing her to make one last sacrifice.
This one was so different from the others and I loved it. It’s pretty dark and shows how far someone will go for the one they love, but should they have to and are they prepared for those consequences? There’s not much dialogue, but the performances were still strong and riveting without it.
Sometimes, I Think About Dying
Sometimes, I Feel Like I’m Dying was directed by Stefanie Abel Horowitz with a cast starring Jim Sarbh and Katy Wright-Mead.
Fran likes to think about dying. When she makes a guy in the office laugh, he wants more – a movie date, a slice of pie, a conversation. But if dating him means learning to live, she’s pretty sure she can’t do that.
Wow, there’s only a few films that have really effective me emotionally and powerfully and this short managed to do this in less than 13 minutes. I actually had tears. It’s a heartbreaking story that feels so real. If you’ve ever suffered from depression and felt like sometimes dying, you’ll never feel more seen than by this story. When he tells her that he wanted to spend his birthday with her and she responds emotionally saying “why?” it really shook me because I can relate all too well.
Katy Wright-Mead is amazing and delivers an emotionally driven performance that was uncomfortably awkward and heartbreaking. I also really enjoyed Jim Sarbh’s character which was a great supportive role. Along with the story, the imagery and narration really made this short truly special.
Vaspy was directed by Hweiling Ow and stars Ria Vandervis.
A film about a pregnant woman with peculiar cravings that spiral out of control after the appearance of a strange clickity-clack toy.
This was pretty unique and awesome and very disturbing. Ria Vandervis’ performance was brilliant. She acted with her whole body and gave a riveting and emotional performance that sticks with you long after the short is over. The ending is cringeworthy and complete nightmare fuel.
Wakey, Wakey was directed by Mary Dauterman with a cast starring Tim Platt and Rachel Sennott.
A nightmare anti-love story featuring blood and guts, the deep blue sea, tooth decay, and scary boyfriends.
I feel like I can relate all too well to this short, haha. There’s been many times I’ve had a horrible dream about my husband and when I awake I’m super mad at him for a moment – but I’ve never taken it quite this far. This was super fun, unexpected, and definitely one of a dark/horror comedy.
Final Thoughts on Born of Woman Shorts Block
If you haven’t checked out the films playing at Fantasia 2019… do it now, you won’t be disappointed. This is a must-see festival and the Born of a Woman shorts block is chalked full of raw talent and horrifyingly awesome stories. They really need to be seen!