Ready to Burst (2016) Horror Short Review

Being pregnant can be the most joyous experience in a woman’s life, but it can also be one of the scariest. As she watches her body grow and stretch, feeling nausea and nervousness and even pain, it can feel as if her own flesh and blood have abandoned her to the tiny creature living off of her nutrients like a parasite. Every pregnant woman has had her doubts about whether or not the things happening to her are of no concern. Of course, in the middle of all of that emotional and hormonal upheaval, it can feel as if any and all of these horrifying feelings and pains are not normal at all. In Ariel Hansen’s horror short Ready to Burst, expectant mother Kate is sure there’s something wrong… but could it all be in her head?

Official synopsis:

Kate and Dylyn have been dying to have a baby. When they finally find success, what follows is Kate’s struggle with the early stages of an unusual pregnancy as it takes a horrific turn.

Ariel Hansen (The Man in the Rabbit Mask 2017) was basically a one-woman band when it came to getting her film made. This movie making badass wrote, directed, produced and starred in Ready to Burst, taking on the lead role of Kate. Opposite Ariel was Lee Shorten (The Man in the High Castle TV series) as her husband, Dylyn, while Gigi Saul Guerrero (ABCs of Death 2.5 2016) and Malcolm Stead (Hipsterverse 2015) also starred. Christopher Andrew Graham (El Gigante 2014) and Cecilia Yus (Ask Will 2017) co-produced alongside Ariel, who brought back The Man in the Rabbit Mask’s Kevin Williams to compose the score. Carolyn Williams (ABCs of Death 2 2014) was in charge of special effects.

What Worked

The storyline for Ready to Burst was phenomenal. I’m a big fan of body horror and I can totally relate to those prenatal feelings. Kate knew that there was something wrong with her pregnant body and everyone – doctors, nurses, even her husband – pooh-poohed her escalating emotions and concerns. Ariel did a fantastic job at conveying those uncomfortable, early pregnancy changes that quickly became something much more deadly. There were these random splashes of gore and bloody handprints throughout the house that no one seemed to notice… not to mention that freaky looking rocking horse. Were they real or were they all in Kate’s head? Her husband never mentioned seeing anything. Could it be because she was imagining it all or could Dylyn have been in on what was happening to her? We never really find out. The ending itself was vague and ambiguous, leaving the entire short open for interpretation.

What Didn’t Work

The things I don’t like about Ready to Burst are small and rather nitpicky. I thought the pregnancy-related special effects were a bit bland. There didn’t seem to be much more than supplies from the Walmart makeup aisle to create the veins on Kate’s stomach. The room they filmed the doctor’s office in looked like an unfinished basement room. I also didn’t think it was long enough – there’s so much more story here that needs to be told. I’m not sure if I would call that a complaint or a compliment…

Final Thoughts

If I wasn’t clear enough in my intro paragraph, I could relate to Ready to Burst in more ways than one. I loved the concept and I’m dying to see this short turned into a full length feature. By the way, this awesome little flick was in the Vancouver Badass Film Festival, where it came away with the award for Most Badass Local Short. If you get a chance, check this tense, surreal horror film out and let us know what you think.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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