ABRACITOS is a horror short film directed by Tony Morales, who co-wrote the screenplay with Fer Zaragoza. The short is full of tension that reminds me of horror films like The Conjuring or The Babadook. This film launches the audience straight into the conflict and doesn’t let up until the credits start rolling. You won’t be able to peel your eyes away from the screen because anything can happen at any point.
A tale of grief and loss quickly turns into fear as we watch two sisters (played by sisters Beatriz and Carmen Salas respectively) grapple with whatever is stalking them outside the confines of Ainara’s fabric castle. Both sisters take us through their emotional journey. As their fear heightens, so does ours. Their fear displayed on screen allows us to imagine all sorts of terrors awaiting them once they exit the protective walls of the castle. But, as we come to see, not everything is as it seems and whatever this entity is, it is patient and willing to wait however long it will take.
Morales’ style and direction in ABRACITOS reminds of more modern horror fare. While much has been made about how jump scares are tackled in film nowadays, Morales makes great use of sound design, shot angles, and direction to have us on edge. The decision to keep the bulk of the film’s 11-minute runtime inside the fabric castle was ambitious but, due to how Morales’ approached his shots, it added further to the sense of claustrophobia and encroaching danger that the film called for. The audience is left knowing something is coming, but with how the story itself is written, we are teased and left on the edge of our seats waiting for the inevitable. And, when it finally comes, we aren’t disappointed.
All in all, ABRACITOS was exciting to watch from beginning to end. From the foreshadowing right at the beginning, the sound design, musical cues, camera shots, and the acting, there’s honestly not much I can negatively critique in this short. Director Tony Morales is planning on expanding the world we see in this short to a feature-length, so I am curious to see how the story is expanded upon in the future.
If you get the chance to see ABRACITOS in the future, make sure you watch the film all the way through the credits. There’s a little tease waiting for viewers who stick it out.