For the nineties kids that grew up with great YA horror fodder like “Goosebumps,” “Fear Street,” and “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” director Paul Gandersman and writer Peter S. Hall really seem to have done their research, building a pretty damn great short horror film around the mold of a series called “The Dead Kids Club.” I hope they can find the funding to continue producing films under this label, as I’d love to see a series of shorts or feature length films within “The Dead Kids Club” concept.
There are a lot of ideas to be mined from the teenage experience in regards to bullying, gossip, relationships, revenge, and how tough it is to grow up in a generation filled with such ruthlessness. “GiverTaker” is a very good taste of the concept. Sarah has a bone to pick with the girls in her class, and after offering them up as sacrifices to the enigmatic entity “The Givertaker,” she invites them in to her basement to view its full power. With the help of coins and a mere wish, she seeks to torture the girls she once called friends and angrily tries to find out who spread a vicious rumor in their school that caused her to become an outcast.
The GiverTaker is a terrifying entity that director Gandersman keeps shrouded until the big unveiling, and before then the build up is entertaining and quite twisted. The performances all around are fantastic, with director Gandersman lending the film a really slick and stylish nineties aesthetic. “Givertaker” is teeming with talent, including solid special effects and great creature effects, overall. It’s a very well told and written short film with a narrative that Hall sets up and resolves quite brilliantly. I hope we can see more films from this series very soon. I think “The Dead Kids Club” has strong potential to be a banner horror anthology.