Presented by Slumberjack Entertainment, the Dead All Day Film Festival screened 17 independent horror shorts with a plethora of themes and special effects on show.
They also featured a screening of award-winning feature Nefarious, and here’s what we thought of the shorts –
Trapped – Coming from the mind of Stephen King this film was a short and sharp gut-punch of a film that shows the height of jealousy. Despite the short length Trapped has a nice slow burn quality as the tension rises and the stakes are raised significantly.
Five Course Meal – When a couple accepts the challenge of staying in a panic room, they turn to deadly measures to survive. Very much themed around greed, Five Course Meal is a black comedy with some outstanding visual effects.
In Her Shoes – Straight out of Germany, In Her Shoes is a creepy ghost tale set in a graveyard, where a young girl and her mum are grieving the loss of the child’s dad. In Her Shoes has a fairytale quality to it which makes it a compelling watch.
Dead Air – What do you get when you put an all-girl punk band and gremlins on a plane? Dead Air of course! This swash-buckling pays tribute to creature features such as Gremlins, mixed together with some punk rock attitude, this was a thrill ride right until touchdown.
Eat Me Out – A personal highlight, Eat Me Out is an offbeat horror-comedy spoof of Come Dine With Me. Using the reality TV set, Eat Me Out is a three-course meal worth sticking around for, with razor-sharp humour in gallons.
The Chop – A blink and you’ll miss it short about the perils of not leaving your pets out of family meals.
Tommy – This film had some interesting character beats, also with a subplot surrounding grief and loss. Tommy delves into the psychology of losing a child, and the concept of revenge from a grieving parent. A powerful piece of cinema.
Closer – One of the lesser quality shorts on offer, Closer tried to communicate the theme of subliminal messaging through devices but must have got its coding mixed up.
Junk – This felt like a British crime throwback as two girls are lured to a secluded lake at night to presumably meet boys. What they don’t know is they have become part of something far more sinister. Junk has moments of genuine tension and a bleak conclusion.
Accidental Warlock – This won the audience award at Dead all Day Horror Film Festival, with the attending Director describing it as cinema verite.
Accidental Warlock involves commentary on youth culture, witchcraft and also the most gross-out practical effect I have seen in a long time. The filmmakers clearly make the most of the limited budget although the story at points does wobble.
The Knowledge – This twisted tale pits killer against killer, as a taxi ride turns deadly for a man who has just finished off his latest victim. Playing in that grey area between good and bad, The Knowledge is a dark tale that echoes the finer moments of Dexter.
The Widower – Written and directed by the Slumberjack Entertainment team, The Widower is a fascinating and at times chilling character study of a psychopath. You don’t tonnes of special effects to tell a good story, as The Widower proves with a script as razor sharp as killer Percy’s blade. Part of the Micro-Killers anthology, this is definitely one to look out for.
The Animator – A fun revenge tale of when animated characters fight back against their creators.
Mr Dark : Field of Screams – Taking queues from shows like the X Files, Mr Dark is the tale of a couple of investigators invited to explore strange goings on at a nearby farm. Although you can see the ‘twist’ coming a mile away, there are some laughs to be had here.
Shadow at the Door – Another dark tale of suicide and ghosts as a girl awakens to noises in her home whilst in the bath. Shadow at the Door does maintain its level of tension before a fairly formulaic ending.
Neck and Neck – I guess this is what a fever dream feels like. Neck and Neck is an avant garde that envokes David Lynch and honestly I couldn’t tell you whether I liked it or not as I couldn’t figure out what it was about.
Midnight – The final short on offer was an interesting tale of a haunted house where connections are discovered as people and ghosts interact with each other in almost a purgatory setting. Minimalist and clever, Midnight was a superb watch.