The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is a badass genre film festival that took place from October 11-18, 2018. The festival is dedicated to showing the best in independent horror with screenings and events hosted at locales splattered across Brooklyn.
The Home Invasion series is a collection of horror shorts filled with mean girls, witches, vampires, monsters, bad fathers, a drill-toting psychopath, and that ain’t even half of all the fun.
EL CUCO IS HUNGRY
Based on the Latin folklore about a boogeyman who eats disobedient children. A tense set up with a punchy delivery and an oddly calm child. There’s a brief glimpse of el Cuco but the creepiest part is the boy’s nonchalance at the end. EL CUCO IS COMING! Directed by Daniel Garcia.
AN ACTOR PREPARES
Directed by Carey Kight, featuring an actress with a weapon. It was refreshing to see a woman play a villain who is not sidelined or upstaged by a simpering heroine, or worse, a tone deaf hero. When I watched it a second time, I imagined Constantin Stanislavski being prepared as the actress prepares her scene partner, which may have been the point. Headshots be damned.
FELL is a terrific short, directed by Holly Voges, based on the Changeling by Joy Williams. Two creepy but cute children tell a scary story around a campfire – a reversal from expectations. Also there’s two puppies in it which doubled the tension because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to those pups, who are adorably named after Mork and Mindy in real life.
Be careful of children in the forest! Parents can be afraid for their children, or afraid of their children at moments. Is that because the very young can seem almost otherworldly, with their needs or demands for attention and love, even adopted ones or siblings?
THE TROUBLE WITH ONE-NIGHT STANDS
A fun horror short, directed by A.K. Espada and Belén Ferrer – because it played with the tension of: who is the dangerous one? Also the guy had a plastic see through shower curtain, very American Psycho. The premise of the short is a metaphor for millennial relationships, get out while you’re safe.
Directed by Robbie Lemieux, a mother’s daughter is kidnapped by a malevolent being at the edge of the woods. I’ve read so many true crime novels about kidnappings that if I have children, I don’t think I will let them out of my sight, so The Woods disturbed me.
A Dad bullies his daughter at a tense family dinner that ends with a mysterious guest. The most frightening thing was watching Dad force his daughter to eat overly salted mashed potatoes, while Mom sat there letting it all happen. But there’s a spooky guest that may be the cause of the dysfunction. Directed by Chase Kuertz.
ABEYANCE, a sci-fi horror short directed by Charles Beale, features an austere and impressive production design of sleeping pods in a futuristic world, where interstellar transport goes wrong for one unfortunate person.
WITCH HUNT, directed by Conor Shillen & Justin Paul Ramirez, this short closes with some pretty great 80’s homage music. A group of twenty-somethings party at a house that may or may not have a witch running through it. What’s not to love? Cool shots of artistic violence, more stylistic than gorey.
THE INVADERS, written and directed by Mateo Marquez, a short about a Muslim woman attacked by invaders. Who are they? What happened? The last shot of a blue bag was particularly unsettling. I imagine that the invaders are a futuristic Trump squad? Overall, chilling and infuriating.
LUCY’S TALE, directed by Chelsea Lupkin about a teenager dealing with mean girls, adolescent sex, and oh, paranormal Carrie-like powers capable of hurting people who threaten her – with bloody noses, or in some cases, death. Are all mean girls cowards at heart? Go Lucy!
Everyone is afraid of the dark for a reason. A woman is tormented each morning at 4:48am by a menacing being. There’s a cool shot of a foot dragging over the bed implying that the being is floating, and red lighting highlighting a mysterious assailant. Directed by Ariel Sinelnikoff.