The Short Films of Izzy Lee [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Izzy Lee is a talented short filmmaker who some of us cannot wait to see a feature film from.  Her shorts have been many and has one of them, For a Good Time Call…, played Fantasia International Film Festival this year paired with the feature Dead Man Tells His Own Tale.  As her work should, more like needs to, be seen by all horror fans, here is a rundown of some of her recent shorts.

A Favor (USA) (2015)
Written by her regular creative partner Christopher Hallock and directed by Izzy Lee, A Favor is about a friend helping another and how far one would go for their friend.  Here Lee builds a quick fun film with a simple premise that quickly turns interesting to say the least.  The film has good effects by Julie LeShane.  The cast, as is usually the case, is talented and takes their parts where they need to go.  Shaun Callaghan, Steven Lawlor Jones, and Diana Porter show that they have talent and can deal with just about anything on film.  The short looks good, even though this photographer-reviewer has a few nitpicky issues with a few framing decision, with cinematography and editing by Bryan McKay.

Innsmouth (USA) (2015)
After an odd and unusual murder, Detective Diana Olmstead is led to Innsmouth where she discovers a few oddities and unusual truths.  Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, this short is written by Francesco Massaccesi and director Izzy Lee.  Its story that feels like a dark fairy tale filled with odd characters and dark imagery.  It’s one of those shorts that make the viewer wish it were longer as the story is interesting and the weirdness is fascinating.  Here Diana Porter gives a performance that works fantastically well as the more (almost) demure Detective Olstead and constrasts perfectly against Tristan Risk’s Alice Marsh, a character that is more “in your face” to say the least.  The story build around the two ladies is a fun horror-mystery to watch unfold and a great example of Lee’s penchant for the dark and unusual.  The effects here are fantastic with one central piece by Vera Schränkung that won’t soon be forgotten.  The Lovecraftian story feels like a perfect fit for Lee’s talent and to let Risk shine in an old badassery kind of way.  This short is one of those that make the viewer wish it were a feature so that they could see more of the world built within.

Postpartum (USA) (2015)
Originally reviewed here, 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.

For a Good Time, Call… (USA) (2017)
Following an asshole of a move, a man finds himself stuck in a public bathroom where karmic revenge is about to befall him.  This short is a bit visually darker than usual for Lee, with a representation in the visual decision of the darkness within.  The film is part revenge story, part ghost story, full blown badassery as has become the norm with Lee’s shorts.  Here the acting by Diana Porter, Sean Carmichael, and Tristan Risk is good with Risk once again stealing her scenes from everyone else involved.  Her screen presence is magnetic.  The effects by Julie LeShane and Izzy Lee, paired with prosthetics by LeShane, are gruesome with a twist.  It brings a touch of body horror to the story in the most unexpected way. This cautionary tale written by Christopher Hallock and directed by Izzy Lee feels brutal, yet necessary.

Lee has more work on the horizon with her short Rites of Vengeance also doing the festival rounds this year and other projects up her talented sleeve.  Keep an eye on https://www.nihilnoctem.com/ for more information and read Wicked Witches: An Anthology of New England Horror Writers in which she has a story.

Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 13th to August 2nd.