Shorts Round Up of the Week – 2/25/19

For the February 25th edition of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” there are reviews for a hilarious comedy, a zombie thriller, and a trio of foreign Supernatural chillers, two of which are becoming feature film productions.

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

Agapornis (Love Birds) (2018)
José Mellinas directed, produced, and co-wrote this creepy Gothic horror drama set in 1970’s Spain. Centered on a pair of sisters Alicia and Laura, they re-unite to gather the possessions of their possessive and domineering mother who recently passed away. As the pair of sisters reminisce about their mother, they begin to learn secrets about one another. When Laura finds an old radio that belonged to their mother, Alicia begins forming an unnatural attachment to it. Before long she learns some horrible truths about her mother. “Agapornis” has a good concept with a creepy ending that really reveals a lot about the characters we’re supposed to root for when we meet them. Our protagonists are flawed but fascinating and the way Mellinas is able to build a creepy villain out of a simple radio is kind of genius. If you love stark supernatural thrillers, this will feed your appetite.

American Virus (2015)
With “American Virus” the narrative and build up is secondary to a lot of guerilla filmmaking and building of the world in a potential zombie apocalypse. Shane Ryan stars with Kathryn Eastwood as a gang that has begun spreading a germ that could spawn a zombie apocalypse. When they regroup in their home, events take a turn when they become unwitting subjects of the virus. “American Virus” has an interesting concept that I wish explained a lot more. Some more dialogue and better focus on how they made the virus or if they discovered it and decided to spread it would have helped a lot. For what it’s worth the make up effects are strong, but I wanted a lot more.

Doll It Up (2018)
Yalan Hu’s short comedy is a hilarious and bizarre love story starring the prolific Timothy J. Cox. Playing the role deadpan, he portrays Gunther a man in love with a blow up doll. When he purchases a new sex doll named Dorri, he learns that the new love isn’t as ideal as he’d hoped. Mostly played without dialogue, Cox is able to deliver some genuine giggles with the way he interacts with the dolls. His sincerity and commitment to the role make his starring turn even funnier, especially with the way he approaches his love for the dolls. Cox is a very good leading man and surprisingly decreases the creep factor of the premise. Hu is also able to lend some great character to the dolls with some great direction and editing. The climax is a great bookend with a hilarious scenario that raises a lot of questions once the credits roll.

The Friend (2018)
Fabien Montagner is a wonderfully directed short film that’s also a stellar proof of concept for a feature. Set on a dark night in a large house, a single mother finds herself being tormented by shadows and sounds outside. When her daughter awakens in the middle of the night asking for a drink, she experiences the full force of the supernatural horror in her home. Montagner’s direction is absolutely top notch as he creates a genuine sense of unease and urgency by depicting the unfolding of the events with a single shot that pan all over one room in the house. This will cause viewers to expect the worst, and jump at every shadow and sound. The direction paired with the excellent performances make “The Friend” a top notch jolt of horror that I predict will become a great feature.

Polaroid (2015)
Lars Klevberg’s (the upcoming “Child’s Play” remake) short horror film is a masterpiece. It’s terrifying, nail biting and had me looking away quite a bit. I haven’t really experienced that with a short horror film since the original “Lights Out” short horror film. The Norwegian horror film centers on Sarah and Linda two young girls that are moving out one night, after Sarah’s mother dies. When they find an old Polaroid camera that belonged to Sarah’s mother, a selfie of the two unleashes something incredibly sinister and supernatural. Klevberg’s horror film is brilliantly directed with amazing wide shots and excellent plays with darkness and shadows. The dim lighting makes Sarah’s once comfortable home a lair of pure terror and I loved how it ended.

According to news sites, Lars Klevberg has adapted and completed this short in to a feature film. But with the end of the Weinstein Company the fully completed feature adaptation is now in limbo and might not see the light of day any time soon, sadly. I’d love to see it. In either case, until then I strongly recommend this. I dare you to watch it alone.