The 2018 Fantasia International Film Festival has been one hell of a ride, and sadly, it will soon be wrapping up. Although we covered a lot of the feature film hits, we are also giving some love to the shorts as well. On that note, here are my thoughts on the Small Gauge Trauma Horror Shorts lineup, and let’s just say, they are definitely worthy of your time.
Directed by Mateo Marquez
Stars Joe Aquino, Keith Boratko, Isra Elsalihie, and Sean Kenealy
On her way home, Jayla, a Muslim girl, notices that she is followed. Terror and confusion take over, as Jayla struggles to escape the powerful force that is menacing her. As Anti-Muslim sentiments spread through Western societies, The Invaders imagines a not too distant future, in which an exaggerated fear of Islam has created systems without any moral or humanitarian regard.
This short was by far the most menacing and creepy out of all the others from this lineup. This is due to a eerie soundtrack that plays, as well as the beautiful light and cinematography throughout the film. Very little words are spoken throughout its run time, which plays well into the fear and panic of what is going on.
THE DEAD MAN SPEAKS (De Dode Spreekt)
Directed by Marcos Mereles
Stars Sameer van Alfen
A dead man’s thoughts about his current state.
This was a quick and straight to the point short story, but I enjoyed it. The style was unique and played well with the black and white theme. There’s nothing out there quite like it, so major props to that.
Directed by Mael Le Mee
Stars Nathan Bensoussan, Fiorella Campanella, Lorenzo Lefèbvre, Manon Valentin
The discovery of Aurore’s body with a supernatural finger…
Man, this one was crazy. Aurore isn’t like other girls. There’s something alluring and supernatural about her. As she discovers her own body, she learns that she can do something with fingers that is an experience unlike any other. It was so crazy, but I loved it.
Some scenes were incredibly uncomfortable, but you couldn’t look away. It’s like the viewer is just two steps from experiencing what these characters are, but never will. A bit of a tease. Very original and unique with great performances by all parties.
Directed by Ryan Oksenberg
Stars Clayton Farris, Ana Zimhart, Heather Geisler
While surprising his fiancée with a newly inherited property, a man is forced by a mysterious woman to confront his past behavior.
This one totally through me threw a loop, and the twist was amazing. Such a great revenge story in just a short amount of time – one of the best I’ve seen in 2018. This just shows that you never truly know who someone is or what dirty secrets they may have.
Directed by Heidi Lee Douglas
Stars Marigold Pazar, Leith Alexander, Peter Healy
A forest protester gets bitten by a devil and transforms into a monster.
This one was far different from all of the other shorts, but fun and bloody. I also love the mystery as to why everything was happening, as well as the credits that play at the end. Some of the FX were great, while other parts weren’t as much, but it didn’t take anything away from the story.
Directed by Marinah Janello
Stars Sissy O’Hara
An aging woman attempts to regain her youth through her taxidermy and spell books.
I actually watched this one for a different festival and after a second viewing… I’m even more blown away by the bizarre insanity of this short. It’s so different, disturbing, and unlike anything I’ve seen before. Sissy O’Hara is brilliant in her role, and she made feel utterly uncomfortable throughout the entire run time as she performed rituals in hopes for youth.
RILEY WAS HERE
Directed by Jonathon Rhoads, Mike Marrero
Stars Elena Devers, Julio Trinidad
Humankind narrowly avoided an apocalyptic event but some of those who survived struggle to move on after their horrific losses.
Just when you thought you’d seen all zombie/disease flicks, another one comes along that truly surprises you. This can be said about Riley Was Here. I loved the story behind why everything was happening and the odd connection between the two main characters. It was interesting and definitely not something you’ll see coming.
THE DAY MY MOTHER BECAME A MONSTER (Le Jour où Maman est Devenue un Monstre)
Directed by Josephine Darcy Hopkins
Stars Joséphine Bernetti, Gretel Delattre
Candice, a 9 year-old girl, lives alone with her mother after the divorce of her parents. As the little girl’s birthday approaches, she starts to see her mother turn into a strange and hideous creature.
I’ve actually reviewed this before, but it was nice to revisit it. Just like before, this is a brilliant short that delivers an emotional journey between daughter and mother. Strong performances, a uniquely concept, and amazing FX.
Directed by Aurelien Digard
Stars Louise Grinberg, Nicolas Hennequin–Parey, Philippe Nahon
In a church, a future bride dresses in secret. Just before meeting up with her, the best man and the priest discover the city has been invaded by the living dead. They grab whatever weapons they can and go to her rescue.
Oh man, this was one of my favorites out of all the shorts. It was the only one that had more of a dark comedy vibe to it, and it made me laugh throughout much of its run time. Such a fun and quirky zombie tale with awesome FX and great performances.
My Final Thoughts on Small Gauge Trauma Horror Shorts:
Although I really enjoyed the features that came out of Fantasia Film Fest 2018, I absolutely freaking loved these shorts. Each one was original, creative, and told a captivating story that hooked you from the beginning. Be on the look out for them, you won’t be disappointed.