For the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, I had the pleasure of reviewing their MIDNIGHT MOVIES block. This included several short films, all written, directed or produced by women.
Although you can probably surmise what the plot of this short is going to be just by looking at the title, Samantha Kolesnik’s FRIENDSGIVING packs a lot in a short amount of time. When a young woman is spending Thanksgiving alone, she is invited over to her creepy neighbors’ to celebrate “friendsgiving” with them. As you can probably guess, this isn’t your average friendly thanksgiving celebration as she soon finds out, and things quickly take a turn for the macabre.
Taking its title from a tropical plant, NEPENTHES shows us what can happen when a popular dating app like tinder is used for more nefarious reasons than a usual hook up. Written and directed by Ariel Hansen, NEPENTHES is about what happens when a woman gets more than she bargained for when meeting up for a possible date after having messaged back and forth through a dating app.
EAT ME (DEVORAME)
Written and directed by Helena Aguilar, EAT ME tells the story of a lonely restaurant worker who is plagued by some unruly customers. When they turn and attack her, they soon realize she is not the only one in the restaurant. Her sister also resides there and she’s not here to play. This one was personally my favorite. Spanish was my first language so I’m always so thrilled to see horror in Spanish and how well it translates. EAT ME is about taking revenge on the machismo Hispanic culture and it definitely packs a punch.
Written, Produced, Directed and Starring by Natasha Pascetta, ROAD TRASH follows a young woman who passes the time by finding and burying varying types of roadkill along the road. One day, after burying a particularly weird piece of roadkill, things go from weird to weirder as she encounters an otherworldly creature. Is it real or fiction? The soundtrack for this short is so so good.
Directed by Jill “Sixx” Gevargizian, CALL GIRL stars a familiar face among horror fans. The premise is simple: a man is seemingly recording an encounter between himself and what we assume to be a call girl. She comes over, pleasantries are exchanged, but the audience knows better than to think this will just be any normal encounter. Although the film is short, I really enjoyed the twist and I’ll admit I didn’t really see it coming.
Directed by Louisa Weichmann, THE STARE was probably my favorite in this block aesthetic-wise. Its got a super vintage 80s feel, and it reminded me a bit of House of The Devil in terms of wardrobe and shooting style. The whole short is shot in the car of a subway train and it serves well to build the tension between the protagonist and whatever demons are plaguing her. I loved the way they used subtle sounds and movements to build suspense.
THE BODY CORPORATE
Directed by Stepanka Cervinkova, THE BODY CORPORATE is the story about what happens when you give your everything to the company you work for. Although the pay off in this short was pretty good, the lead up to it was a little so-so for my taste.
Shot in first person POV style and Directed by Lori Alex, DONOR does an excellent job of misleading. Although the “twist” is revealed pretty early on in the short, I still had a hard time figuring out just where the story was going to go. I’m not usually a fan of the first-person style, but the way this short was shot almost made it seem like a videogame first-person shooter and I ended up digging it a lot.
Written, Directed and Produced by Pina Brutal, ETERNITY is a fun romp into a strip club with the best dancers. We all know the kinds of men that frequent strip clubs and nothing is more satisfying than watching the end of this short.
Overall, I really enjoyed the MIDNIGHT BLOCK of short films. I loved watching each short and anticipating when shit was going to go awry. It’s like watching something knowing it’s going to end horribly but not exactly knowing when or how it’s going to go insane. Every short was great in a different way and I love what these women have put forth in the horror genre.