NOVA is a new 8-minute sci-fi/horror short film from writer-director David McAbee. It tells the story of a doctor named Nova Thorpe who struggles to record an ominous warning about a failed experiment as she nears death. While we’re never fully informed as to what the exact experiment is, we have an idea that Dr. Nova has contracted some sort of necrotic condition—causing lesions to appear on her skin, and her hair to fall out. She pleads into a hi-tech camera, warning the outside world of the misunderstandings that created this horrific disaster, but as she attempts to deliver her message, the condition is quickly coursing through her.
The practical and visual effects are by far the highlight of NOVA. A lot of the horror of the short comes from the visual depiction of Dr. Nova’s affliction. A convincing performance from Kelly Kula as Dr. Nova also helps sell the overall sense of panic and dread that hangs over this story. While it would be nice to get a bit more details about just what is happening overall, McAbee does a good job of revealing just enough to keep the viewer hooked until the end. This feels like a solid proof-of-concept short for a feature-length genre thriller. With tight editing, and fluent camera work, NOVA feels concise and focused. Even though the plot is somewhat vague to its own detriment, the short has enough technical prowess to be worth your time.