Panic Fest Short Film Review: HERE THERE BE MONSTERS (2018)

Australian Director/Writer Drew Macdonald (Creeper) delivers an effectively heartbreaking tale, where Monsters both human and unknown terrorize a young school girl named Elki, played with perfection by Savannah Foran McDaniel.

Starting on a bus ride home, the taunting begins. The Elki puts on a brave face, trying to ignore the bullies. This escalates to violence as the bullies continue to taunt her, including chewing gum in the hair. As the bullies exit, we see Elki cut the gum out and then finally break down with both relief her terrorizers are gone and sadness that this is her existence.

She falls asleep and wakes to finds herself alone on the bus, overlooked by the driver and locked in a parking area after hours.

But as she looks for a way to get back home after dark, she discovers that she is not alone.

Savannah Foran McDaniel delivers a performance, both heartbreaking and fiercely brave. She goes through a tortuous ride and keeps you engaged, never once playing a victim. I hope we continue to see her on film. Jordan Small as one of Elki’s bullies delivers a crushing portrayal of tormenter. We also get to see a little of her home existence, which does not excuse her actions but gives insight into why she becomes the persecutor.

Josh Zaini’s cinematography is top-notch, supported by an effective musical score by Erin McKimm, and the practical effects by Steve Boyle produce a truly horrific creature. Inside the beast, Toby Barron does an exceptional job.  With a running time of 14 minutes, this is a compelling film that produces true emotion and chills.

If you have the opportunity to catch this short film, you will not be sorry.

J. Michael Roddy
Movie Reviews

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