[Short Film Review] ETHERIA FILM FESTIVAL 2020 SHORTS
Courtesy of Shudder
Head to Shudder to check out nine short films from talented women directors! The 2020 selections of Etheria Film Festival explore a variety of issues packaged in a glossy block of short flicks. Since beginning in 2014, the Festival strives to give a platform to women directors. Overall, the Etheria Film Night 2020 selection was a group of exceptional shorts, each with its own style and flair. The 128-minute selection of short films, available on Shudder, will utterly immerse you.

Shorts touch on a variety of hot-button issues, such as consent, surveillance states, the gig economy, loneliness, and chosen identities. Directors include Carlyn Hudson (Waffle), Mia’Kate Russell (Maggie May), Yoko Okumura (Basic Witch), Bears Rebecca Fonté (Conversion Therapist), Myrte Ouwerkerk (Offbeat), Alexandria Perez (The Final Girl Returns), Taryn O’Neill (Live), Kelli Breslin (Man in the Corner), and Ursula Ellis (Ava in the End).

The film opens with a brief statement from Director of Programming Heidi Honeycutt, welcoming viewers to the “best new genre films made by women.” Just in case you forgot about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Honeycutt reminds viewers to wear their medical masks.


WAFFLE introduces a world where human relationships only exist as paid app interactions. Kerry is a gig worker, paid hourly to be Katie’s BFF. Katie, a lonely waffle heiress, has endless money to burn to make Kerry stick around – whether she wants to or not. It’s a grim look at a gig-economy dystopia on a small scale from dark-comedy director Carlyn Hudson (Nice Ass, Distance).

The creepiest flick of the bunch is Mia’Kate Russell’s (What if It Works?, Liz Drives) MAGGIE MAY. Embark on a swift journey into terror. Sam returns home for her mother’s funeral, she brings her two young babies along. She begins to care for Maggie, an adult with special needs, but suddenly the unthinkable happens. Don’t miss this gory short from a director with a long career make-up and special effects.

An eye for an eye? When Lily, a young witch, has a sexual encounter that she dislikes, she brews a pumpkin spice latte laced with a spell. When Brian wakes up, Lily gives him a literal taste of his own actions. BASIC WITCH, directed by Yoko Okumura (“50 States of Fright“, Stories in Place: June Jung Tattoo Studio) discusses sensitive subject matters.

CONVERSION THERAPIST is a delicious revenge story that cuts right to the chase. A few ex-patients lock up a closeted homophobic conversion therapist. They torture him, seeking revenge for their horrible treatment. Bears Rebecca Fonté (Prenatal, Roadside Assistance) directs this revenge horror film with an unforgettable ending.

Aspiring drummer Olly lives in a polluted world where clean air is a scarcity. He interviews to live in an idealistic fresh-air dome, full of talented individuals. But as the interview gets stranger and stranger by the minute, Olly begins to question things. Sci-fi short OFFBEAT was directed by Myrte Ouwerkerk (Van Binnenuit, Daan de indiann).

Still from AVA IN THE END

THE FINAL GIRL RETURNS, by Alexandria Perez (Aftermath) follows a driver as he continually rescues “final girls” from their monsters. Day after day, police don’t believe the victims, and the world moves on. As the Driver speeds through the desert, he begins to wonder, “Is he really breaking the cycle of final girls?” Come for the stunning desert scenery, stay for a fascinating and creepy tale.

Nearly every minute of waking life is broadcast in LIVE, a short from director Taryn O’Neill (Web of Spies, Mooom). A professional fighter wakes up exhausted and tired of live-streaming her every waking moment. She can’t keep up with 24/7 streaming culture, and she hits a breaking point when her date confronts her about it. It’s easy to get lost in the futuristic technology that could be a reality all too soon.

Daniel is finally getting to hook up with his dream guy. But his date didn’t warn him about his creepy, invasive roommate. And Daniel keeps seeing him lurking in the shadows…MAN IN THE CORNER is a sexy spooky queer horror short by Kelli Breslin (What Happens Next).

Director Ursula Ellis’s (For George on His 30th Birthday, Crick in the Holler) short film AVA IN THE END asks: if you could upload your consciousness after death, what would happen? Ava trips over her dog and wakes up inside a computer’s Cloud. The computer says it can bring her back to life, with a new body. But when the computer goes off script, it has a lot to say.


Some other incredibly exciting news is that a full Etheria Film Festival retrospective collection featuring our official selections from every festival season, 2014-2019, will be released on digital streaming by The Horror Collective (thehorrorcollective.com) beginning with the release of Season 2014 on July 23, 2020, on Amazon.com. Stay tuned for more details about those releases and how to watch them!

Movie Reviews, Reviews

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