After many people have gone to bed, Final Girls Berlin Film Festival showed their MIDNIGHT collection on February 5th. Named because these shorts look best in the deep part of the night, prepare for a bizarre cast of characters as well as some ooey-gooey bodily fluids and gore. Once all the normal people are tucked into bed, things can get a bit sexy and a bit weird.
An Instagram influencer craves more followers and likes, so she records her daily actions and every vapid thought that comes into her head. She demonstrates her make-up and what junk food she prefers, so only has pretty basic material to offer. Therefore, the only thing which could help her channel would be to get attacked by a zombie while streaming live. After her attack, Nicky grows paler and weaker but still craves followers. Director Ali Chappell gives a bloody look at how fake attention (for some) will outweigh any level of self-care or concerns for one’s health. The short might be a bit too on the nose with its commentary on how social media is turning people into brainless zombies, but the perfect casting of Arrielle Edwards as the brain-dead lead makes up for any weaknesses.
Recently split from her boyfriend, Katherine finds herself all alone except for the voices on the radio telling her to stay sane in isolation. She can only observe people from afar and absolutely everyone seems to have another person to quarantine with, which makes Katherine long to touch someone. To ease her pandemic fatigue, she purchases a boyfriend pillow, so she can at least get a pretend hug from someone. However, she soon finds herself in an abusive relationship with her pillow. Jill Worsely uses her short to show the madness which occurs when isolated, but also possible domestic stress and violence from being stuck inside.
IT CAME FROM THE KITCHEN!
This short gives off an old-school creature-feature vibe. From the title font to the cheaply made monsters, KITCHEN just screams 1950s drive-in. A depressed woman lives alone in her apartment and avoids any level of self-care and spends the day in bed, leaving only to get more take-out to add to her massive pile of discarded wrappers and bags. Living in this level of filth it’s no wonder an abnormally large cockroach moves in. Director Jessica Salgado obviously ties in discussing the effects of depression, but the metaphors seem underdeveloped.
Living in L.A., a Korean woman attempts to make a living while working for a make-up pyramid scheme. However, the job involves more than peddling face cleansers, and the stakes become more serious. Visually and narratively, the short imitates a lot of Lynchian techniques as the director looks at the controlling powers of beauty and money. Not as linear as most of the shorts at Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, Stevie Szerlip‘s film follows its own rules when it comes to storytelling.
POSTED NO HUNTING
Director Alisa Stern approaches found footage in an incredibly unique manner. POSTED NO HUNTING uses a trail cam to tell a very short story. Stern creates a fun and creepy video and all through the use of stop motion puppets. At about two and a half minutes, the short tells an effective story about a late-night encounter.
Staged as a black and white silent film from the 1920s, CRAFTY WITCH uses stop motion puppetry to tell a ‘very’ brief revenge story between the witch-finder general and one of his potential victims. It’s a cute enough short depicting an attempted drowning, but the one-minute run time gives you very little to consume.
VICTIM NO. 6
New York City in 1975 shows a city ravished by a serial killer who targets people who are out late at night. Donna and Judy disregard the warnings to stay in and stay safe and instead go to a bar. Foolishly the girls separate, and Donna finds herself alone in a bar where every patron could potentially be the City Slasher. With so many horrific murders happening, Donna needs to be careful of who she talks to. But Mark seems like a nice guy. Right? Nancy Menagh sets the story in an immersive retro world complete with a banger soundtrack that can rival the 70s vibe of Guardians of the Galaxy. The casting of Heather Brittain O ‘Scanlon as the fun-loving Donna makes for a stand-out performance. And while even the most novice of horror fans will guess the ending, the predictability in no way ruins the fun.
In the future, an unhabituated Earth sits abandoned, so obviously, the ideal place for a radiologist to do some sunset yoga. Grace Sloan offers a simple enough story, but the artistic approach makes this short an enjoyable watch with plenty of fun b-movie aesthetics. The story takes place in the year 2080 but depicts the future as how people from the 1970s would view it. Complete with grainy filmstrip quality footage, retro music, and very outdated special effects, DEATH VALLEY gives several nods to sci-fi films of the past.
Bandmates Haruka, Nana, and Takanori travel to their friend Souta’s house after he breaks all contact with everyone. Arriving at their friend’s house, they find all the windows covered in newspapers and a very detached Souta. The missing friend wears all black and seems to exist only in the shadows. He demonstrates no emotions and creeps out his friends with his near-silent movements. But the scene soon goes from awkward to demonic. Comical and gory, VISITORS‘ approach to a possession strikes a lot of the same chords as the Evil Dead films and TV series. Director Kenichi Ugana does not provide so much a story, but more of a set-up for some bloody laughs.
All the shorts featured in the MIDNIGHT Shorts Block played at the 2022 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival!
- [SXSW Review] IT LIVES INSIDE - March 17, 2023
- [SXSW Review] APPENDAGE - March 16, 2023
- [SXSW Review] EVIL DEAD RISE - March 16, 2023