The Shipment (2018)
A man who has turned his life around must make hard decision in his quest to become a better man and to protect his daughter at the same time. This short film is one of the most expensive ones we’ve seen in the last few years and the budget shows. The special effects are on point, the score sounds expensive, if a little familiar, and the film as a whole comes off looking and feeling like something that is part of a much bigger universe. The acting in The Shipment is good overall, with a few scenes here and there that feel a bit off. The visuals are fantastic and show how much of a passion project this was for writer/director Bobby Bala. It’s a fun watch with some deeper issues being approached in a way that is perfect to make some think without even knowing it. The issues at hand are very real and timely.
A short film about how heavy it is for one man to be queer in a Muslim family and how far he is ready to go to relieve his burden. Written and directed by Ayman Samman who also stars as the person sent to the roof to try and save the jumper played by Mico Saad. Both of them give stellar, powerhouse performances that show what nuanced and organic performances are. The both of them carry 95% of the film and their back and forth as well as their personal performances show something special on this short that should be explored further. This is however a film that works best as a short as if made into a feature, it could very well feel overdrawn. The short format here is one that works perfectly and shows that not all films require a longer run time.
Rakefet Abergel is back at it, this time with a fun take on a familiar theme in horror with added incentives and current issues. Her work here takes the character of Boo from a meeting that seems to be of the AA kind, then to a bad meeting in parking lot, all the way to an end that some might see coming but is no less interesting and entertaining to watch. Abergel stars, directs, and co-writes with Tiffany Kiely this horror comedy drama film that feels like it has much more to offer. Boo is a character that feels human and real while giving the viewer something to be entertained by and something to think about. Even with its darker moments, Boo is an entertaining short film with some interesting visual shifts and imagery.
Following the building to the border wall, life in the US has become extremely expensive. A couple living in a nice community has come up with a plan to make some extra money and help out those in need at the same time. In this new short from uber talented writer/director Izzy Lee, a story that could be happening in a very near future takes her characters on a ride some of them did not expect. Here she works with horror regulars Gigi Saul Guerrero, Kasey Lansdale, Morgan Peter Brown, and Steve Johanson, as well as very newcomer Scarlet Rodriguez to create a world that looks familiar but where something unsettling in happening. This is Lee’s forte, the familiar yet not quite, worlds where things look almost normal until they are not. Her work here is fantastic and her approach of subjects that divide people will most likely divide viewers, a proof of a quality film. This is one delightfully twisted short like only Izzy Lee knows how to bring her fans.
The Obliteration of the Chickens (2019)
Another Izzy Lee directed film, this one is a Herzog inspired piece of visual attack that brings all kinds of imagery together to create a message that needs to be seen. The narration by Bracken McLeod and the editing by Michael J. Epstein bring it all together in an audio and visual dance that will make some dizzy. This social commentary of sorts is best seen on a big screen with a crowd to get its full impact.
In this short film, scientists are trying to prove that an AI can live outside of controls and with its own plans. In a short film that owes a lot to other films like eXistenZ and Sequence Break, things are done a bit differently as the AI is carried on in a much different way, but the body horror and connection to computers is similar in mood and tone as well as in impact. This is a short that takes the fun of AI and brings a touch of horror to the proceedings. Timothy Troy builds a short that has a lot of impact in its short run time.
It’s Hell Getting Old (2019)
A group of elderly people are stuck in elevator on their way to a high school reunion. As time passes, tempers flares and truths come out. This short written and directed by Patrick Rea is fun and funny with a dark sense of humor. The film has a few twists in its short runtime and it makes the most of every minute it has on screen. The performances by the leads are fantastic and give something extra in terms of horror and aging. The setting in an elevator enhances the story and its main points forcing everyone to deal with each other and forcing the viewer to stay with them until the very end. This is a fun one and should be checked out if given the chance.
The View From Here (2019)
Also from Patrick Rea, this short goes in a completely different direction with 2 patients in a hospital spending time sharing with each other. They offer an interesting view on being sick and making the most of someone’s position and situation. This is one of those shorts that is touching and filled with a view on life that is unexpected and leads to an emotional reaction that may not have been expected. The cast here is very talented and they show that you do not need flashy costumes and fancy sets to captivate and audience.
Sister Mercy (2019)
In William Boodell’s new short film, a nun named Sister Mercy goes looking for a young woman she met at a shelter and finds her in a house where she is at high risk. Giving in to her savior instincts, Sister Mercy tries to talk the girl’s captors into letting her go until more assertive actions must be taken. The story here is one that is interesting with some fun direction taken when don’t go as planned. What really carries this short are the performances with those of Dominika Van Santen as Sister Mercy Lopez and Jason Kyle as Bradley Ferris coming on top of a group of talented folks. Their performances give the film a backbone that works great and support the rest of the cast in their parts. They both show that a short is can be enough to make an impression.
Mama’s Boy (2018)
Currently on the festival circuit, like most of the above titles, Mama’s Boy is the brain child of Samantha Kolesnik who takes the story of a man and his “mama” and twists and turns it into something that is a bit creepy, a bit sad, and somehow touching. Here the film has some undertones of the Bates family with a twist of BDSM. The performances by the leads give the film its impact and the way Kolesnik takes everything on the screen and makes it work towards an emotional denouement is something that takes talent and restraint while also giving the viewer much more than they expected. This one is a short film to see for sure.