Shorts Round Up of The Week: Quarantine Edition

Happy April! We hope you and yours are doing well during these bizarre times. What with most things slowing down, I thought it’d be a great time to bring back “Shorts Round Up of the Week” once again with some back logs being cleared out from our submissions. This week we have some great short films that you can check out, now including a science fiction drama, a comedy, and a drama about the #MeToo movement.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

Apocalypse Norway (2018)
Can Be Seen on: Short of the Week
Although filmed in 2018, Jakob Rørvik’s short film is shockingly relevant to everything unfolding in the world at the moment, and he explores what happens when generally apathetic teenagers have their world shaken up. Oda and her small group of friends are spending vacation in an idyllic beach house. While there, the world is seemingly hit and hit hard by an epidemic of sickness that causes almost immediate death. What seems like a very unusual scenario they try to ignore, transforms in to a confrontation of what the world would look like if it ended begins to completely unravel all of them one by one.

Jakob Rørvik’s “Apocalypse Norway” is a beautiful film, but it’s also a disturbing one exploring how the characters completely lose their minds even when declaring that they mustn’t lose themselves in the outside chaos. Even with their posh lives, they’re all either bound to die from the vicious illness, and it becomes a matter of allowing it to overcome you, or just find a way to go out in a blaze of glory. It’s an upsetting albeit fantastic short about confronting the end of the world and—whaddya know? There’s even a cameo from Leonardo DiCaprio, to boot.

The Bumbry Encounter (2018)
Can Be Seen On:
Short of the Week
Director/Writer Jay K. Raja’s science fiction thriller is an absolutely fantastic piece of work that focuses on a very crucial twentieth century paranormal event and uses it as a means of injecting social commentary. Like all good science fiction, “The Bumbry Encounter” is mainly about humanity and how film’s inherent menace manages to squeeze by thanks to the ugliness of prejudice and racism. Based on the 1961 “Hill Abductions,” we meet Jackie and Terry Bumbry, an interracial couple facing a hard road ahead of them socially and emotionally. While driving home, they’re confronted by a white object in the sky that seemingly abducts them for hours, all of which feel like literal minutes.

Raja twists the narrative to explore the idea of xenophobia and racism, and how the villain in the film transforms from sentient alien beings in to enigmatic government agents. As they struggle to conceal this potential bombshell, it becomes a matter of finding a way to gaslight the couple and within a matter of minutes, we watch Jackie go from a victim to being absolutely victimized. Lauren McFall and Skipper Elekwachi are fantastic in their respective roles, while Ross Turner steals the show as the somewhat conniving Doctor Bancroft. I strongly recommend watching this for the brilliant social commentary, excellent performances and absolutely stunning production quality.

Hot Dog (2020)
Can Be Seen On:
Short of the Week
Patrick Muhlberger’s comedy is a hilarious ensemble picture that centers on a group of broadly drawn characters that clash one day in what they assume is a noble intention. While a group of co workers are yammering in a parking lot, they come across a small dog locked in a car. Refusing to leave it during the heat, they all begin to clash with one another over what to do, how to do it, and what’s the most important course of action.

Director Muhlberger films the entire movie on a continuous take allowing the audience to feel like spectators during such a ridiculous scenario. The whole crisis becomes a means of evoking inner turmoil and insecurities, including Matt who is still feeling emasculated after being dumped by his girlfriend. The entire are hysterical, and every joke and one liner lands causing me to erupt in loud chuckles. “Hot Dog” is such a random premise, but it’s a great, simple character based comedy that warrants a watch.

I Know Jake Gyllenhaal Is Going to Fuck My Girlfriend (2016)
Can Be Seen On:
Director Nino Mancuso’s short dark comedy is about how often insecurities about relationships and jealousy can interfere in our lives and sabotage the good things we can tend to take for granted. Although admittedly absurd and silly in a sense, “I Know Jake Gyllenhaal…” is very clever and pretty funny, especially the darker it gets. Mancuso poses Jake Gyllenhaal as a genuine threat against character Sean who feels threatened when girlfriend Suzie responds very enthusiastically to him during a night out at the movies.

Sean then becomes his own nemesis, as he finds himself questioning Suzie’s devotion and loyalty more and more. I mean what are the odds Suzie would ever meet Jake? Right? Once a gathering is announced, Mancuso’s film takes an unexpected twist that actually quite worked. I don’t know how I felt about the ambiguous final scene, but I liked most of “I Know Jake Gyllenhaal…” for its unusual take on jealousy.

Me También (Me Too) (2019)
Can Be Seen On:
I don’t know if I completely bought in to the final scene of “Me También” completely, but I loved the messaging behind it, and how it symbolized how it’s about time for men to pay for their crimes once and for all. Written/Directed by and Starring Valeria Vallejos, Vallejos plays Cristina, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who begins watching the child of a wealthy couple. When she’s sexually assaulted by the husband of her boss, she struggles whether to report him or risk being deported.

Meanwhile, Monica, a rising executive in her marketing firm endures endlessly misogynistic humor from her co-workers, and has to confront a particularly sexist boss who threatens to ruin her entire career and everything she’s earned. Vallejos’ film is beautifully directed and very well acted, while also exploring the corner many women are pushed in to when they’re sexually violated in almost any situation they’re in. The finale is a bit too convenient for my liking, but I appreciated the overall work put in by Vallejos and think it’s an important film worth pursuing.