[Final Girls Berlin FF Review] MEDICAL HORROR Shorts Block

[Final Girls Berlin FF Review] MEDICAL HORROR Shorts Block
Courtesy Final Girls Berlin
With health and wellness at the forefront of everybody’s mind for at least the last couple of years, horror directors turn more and more to using doctors and even a person’s own body as the evil figure in their films. The MEDICAL HORROR collection at this year’s Final Girls Berlin Film Festival explores disability, bodily autonomy, and the absolutely evil side of medicine. Medical treatments and procedures should result in curing ailments and comforting people, and while horror films might go to extremes, their message never strays far from reality. There is nothing nurturing in these segments as the talented directors will destroy everything about their characters from their minds to their bodies.

Editor’s Note: This review is based on early access. Not all shorts in this block are featured in this review.

[Final Girls Berlin FF Review] MEDICAL HORROR Shorts Block
Still from Occupational Hazard l Courtesy Final Girls Berlin

Ursula Ellis creates an eco-body horror in which the trauma on the earth now reflects in the physical pain of a woman’s body and mind. Deep under the earth, a West Virginia coal miner become trapped and before she was rescued, a mysterious green gas infected her. Now while trying to recover physically and emotionally from her near deadly experience, she must also deal with unexplainable chemical occurrences around her. She keeps seeing the green gas in the air, in the water, and even in her own body. Typically, the caregiver of her younger brother, the environment of the home changes with Diane struggling to adapt to post-trauma life.

Still from FREYA l Courtesy Final Girls Berlin


One of my favorites from the festival, Camille Hollett-French takes the controlling dystopian world of The Handmaid’s Tale, but instead of the lives of women being run by men, the world is run by Alexa. Jade lives the typical life of a millennial, trying to figure out where she is going and what she wants. She is still finding a career, drinks a bit too much, and isn’t looking to settle down. At least she has her best friend Freya to offer advice and give her words of encouragement. Unfortunately, Freya (Federally Regulated Enquiring and Yield Assistant) is actually a futuristic version of Alexa who monitors every aspect of Jade’s life. So, after a disaster’s one-night stand, Freya and the government now run everything from Jade’s meds to her future. FREYA explores the lack of body autonomy women may currently face and how many more rights might soon disappear.

Still from THEY CALLED ME DAVID l Courtesy Final Girls Berlin


From the perspective of a test subject, Lindsay Hallam tells the story of a little boy named David. The child lives in a small room and his only companions consist of masked scientists who constantly come into the small room to poke and prod the boy. This life filled with violation continues until David makes the bad men cry the red tears. The boy wants a friend, but he also wants to hurt people because of his years of isolation. Filmed mostly in black and white with the echoey recorded voice of David narrating the story makes the short resemble bits of 60s or 70s footage. Poetic and haunting, the voice of David will not leave your mind.

Still from HYSTERIA l Courtesy Final Girls Berlin


One of the shortest films at the festival, Jenna Payne’s HYSTERIA comes from the director’s own experience with the uncaring health system. Cassandra lives through pain and numerous other ailments, but the doctor just keeps telling her to eat better. The anger and frustration from medical neglect quickly pushes Cassandra to action. Filmed during quarantine with the backgrounds edited in later gives the short a unique visual that almost seems reminiscent of older PC games.

If you cannot make it to the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, most of the shorts will be available to watch virtually internationally and tickets can be purchased here.

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