The Quiet Room (USA) (2018)
Following his suicide attempt, a man must face and stop a demon who was awaken and is now going after everyone in the mental hospital ward. From writer/director Sam Wineman, The Quiet Room is a long form short film meaning that it is not quite short yet not long enough to be considered a feature film. The length of the film here is perfect for the story and allows the film to tell and show what it needs to without going over its welcome and lasting too long. The film’s story here is gripping and keeps the viewer watching through strong characters and a few good scares that will surprise even the most hardcore of horror fans. This is partially due to the film’s style and its story as it develops into more of a psychological film than a horror one until the monster in question shows up and starts doing some damage.
Wineman’s film is fantastic on these levels, touching on mental health and suicide in respectful manner while also bringing some scares along for the ride in a way that doesn’t diminish the issues at hand. A big part of this is due to the cast and how they approach the material. Jamal Douglas in the lead of Michael brings the right touch to his part, making him human and very realistic while keeping him in context of the story and its developments. His performance here is strong and powerful while being subtle and nuanced. His work is one major part of why the film works. The rest of the cast is also very good, but this is very much Douglas’ show in terms of starring and connecting. While the monster is fantastic and the film is well-shot, he is the center of attention and remains it throughout the film.
Instinct (USA) (2018)
Another long form short film, Instinct is the brain-child of director Maria Alica Arida who co-wrote with Rosita Lama Muvdi. The film follows the psycho-sexual relationship between a painter and a performance artist as they both evolved in their art and with each other. The film has a few surprises up its sleeves that take the story into horror as well as more than just the one genre. The film plays on many themes including sexuality, attraction, boundaries, and art inspiration. It’s a stunning film with artwork that awes with its power to touch the viewer.
Here the leads of Isabelle and Camila, played by Christine Kellogg-Darrin and Jordan Monaghan respectively, are the center of the story, the center of everything. As they find each other, they find themselves, and the viewer finds themselves entranced in what is happening on the screen. The film plays with blood on many fronts and angles and it does so in an artsy manner that doesn’t feel contrived or forced. The story and its elements work very much die to the writing, directing, and acting. The cinematography by Hannah Getz wraps these elements in images with the right amount of darkness and mystery, bringing the film to the screen perfectly for its content.
Attack of the Potato Clock (USA) (2018)
In a school near you, a potato clock is hit by lightning and aims to take revenge on all those who have hurt potatoes in their lives, starting with an unsuspecting lunch lady. This animated short is flat out cute and super charming. Almost silent, the short communicates most of its emotions through the lunch lady and potato’s faces and is just about perfect on that front. From directors Victoria Lopez and Ji Young Na, the film has a tight pacing and a fun view on horror tropes when it comes to reanimated beings while still being silly and amusing. The animation is well done and the style it has suits the story perfectly.
Neverending Kitchen (Spain) (2018)
Fernando González Gómez’s short film takes a few film fans in one kitchen and has them talking cinema and what they love while things start going sideways in a spectacular fashion, giving horror fans a fun take on the genre and on parties the end in the kitchen. The film has an attention to detail that is special in that even mugs are carefully selected and the cast gets to act dressed in the perfect outfits. This cast is composed of Javier Bódalo, Carmen Ibeas, and Niko Verona is perfect, reacting hilariously to everything happening around them. This short is one of those that is a fun watch and that could easily be put on at any Halloween party, perhaps even in the kitchen.