Dante’s Penance (Music Video) (USA) (2016)
A rap music video showing a man ready to commit murder for a beautiful woman based on the 9 circles of Hell, this video written and directed by Dante Moran who also did the cinematography, editing, casting, was a part of the effects team, etc is a visually interesting but its story feels as though it’s part of something else, something as of yet incomplete. The cast led by Thomas Gunter gives decent performances and the effects look good. It will be interesting to see how it ties into the bigger Penance project.
Dissociative (UK) (2016)
A man wakes up with his wife dead without any idea of what happened. As he looks for an explanation, flashbacks give clues. Written by Tom Gordon and Damon Rickard, who also directed, the film has an interesting story and some well-done effects but the shaky cam that starts the film and comes back later is annoying at first and a hindrance to the story as it comes back. Its reason for being makes sense but it takes the viewer out of the story. The music by Eric Elick matches the story well and thankfully helps bring the viewer back in.
Ellie (Canada) (2016)
16 year-old writer/director Morgana McKenzie is back with her sixth short, this one about a young man has had more than enough of being his captor’s victim and servant. As he plans his escape, he forgets a few details. The film’s young lead, played by Sebastian Labissiere does well in keeping the mystery until the final reveal. Writer/director Morgana McKenzie is definitely a talent to watch. She has a few shorts on her resume and they keep getting better.
Surgery (UK) (2015)
After having the life beaten and tortured out of him, a mysterious man finds himself under the care of a surgeon with unorthodox methods. Written by Brian and Samuel Clemens and directed by the latter and George Clemens, this short is torture and cruelty with a purpose. The special effects by Cliff Wallace are gruesome and fairly realistic; they are enough (and then some) to make most horror fans cringe. Supporting, and in contrast to, the story is the cinematography by Fermando Ruiz which shows the beautiful British countryside, including beautiful aerial shots, as well as the violence imposed the mysterious man. Also quite effective is the sound design which adds to the discomfort created by the effects and violence on screen. The way this film mixes beauty with gore, the music with the sound effects, calm images with violent ones, shows a developed knowledge of how to make horror work. This short is one effective film with a nicely satisfactory ending.
Postpartum (USA) (2015)
Director Izzy Lee, who also wrote with Christopher Hallock, creates the short tale of a woman affected by postpartum depression. This woman has a strong case of it and goes a lot further than most new moms would to calm down the crying of her infant. Lead actress Kasey Lansdale pulls no punches in her performance, doing as Lee instructed her and going all out with the crazy. Her performance is mesmerizing, especially given how sweet she is normally. This performance, along with that of the talented Diana Porter, anchors the short and keeps the viewer connected to the story. The short takes a very serious subject and pushes it to the brink, making its point come across clearly while entertaining and not making light of the mental affliction at its center.