Sohome Horror Film Festival Part III – Short Film reviews

Here is our roundup of a series of short films that were screened across the Sohome Horror Film Festival Part III.

Backward Creep

Offering some excellent practical effects and an obsession with eyeballs, Backward Creep pits a group of cosplayers against a supernatural entity.

The funniest part of this short is the lack of urgency the group have after running someone over, simply panicking about themselves rather than someone they could have killed.

Regret

Regret offers the slow build of a broken relationship between siblings, following the death of one of their parents. It offer nuggets of information for a larger mythos, with a slow build of escalation and has effective use of wide angle shots to increase paranoia when we fear things have gone south.

This is very much about facing your inner demons, especially when they turn deadly. An excellent and engrossing watch.

Behind the Door

A grieving daughter contacts a gypsy to attempt to make contact with her deceased father, but as we know be careful what you wish for when it comes to the occult.

This short strikes a perfect balance between the light and the shadows and uses all the camera tricks to keep us on the edge of our seats. The orchestral score is also a highlight.

Mateo

This was the short that I just didn’t want to end. Despite being just four minutes long, Mateo paints a very interesting world as we follow a man resurrected as a zombie who still has conscious thoughts but has to follow his new zombie rules. It feels like we get just a snippet of his world, but it begs for further exploration.

Recommended.

A Funny Way To Die

Taking a leaf out of Chucky’s bloody history, A Funny Way to Die pits a 20 something girl against a doll she receives as a mysterious gift. Sounds familiar right?

Although the plot is telegraphed from the outset, A Funny Way to Die was entertaining, disposable fun.

Couriers

2020 feels like the year of the Zoom conversation, with Couriers proving another short, sharp and effective example of how to make this moderately scary.

When paranoia sets in between a couple who have to spend an anniversary apart, things become deadly. This isn’t quite Host but again passable and entertaining.

Sleep Tight

It is often said that people with disabilities don’t feature enough in horror films, but this appears to be changing, with Sleep Tight another great example.

Here we follow the story of a wheelchair bound teenage boy as he struggles against the perennial monster under the bed. Although this is played more for laughs than scares, it is the representation which makes this a more compelling watch.

No Hand Shells Crack?

Playing towards the current and topical COVID-19 pandemic this short tries to encapsulate the paranoia regarding cleaning. This felt like a half developed idea that could have benefited from a bit of padding.

Phantom

This Ukranian short is another example of a COVID-themed film, with a woman feeling increasingly paranoid after walking through a gang near a subway.

While we feel she is being followed, there is more of a supernatural element at hand which is linked to touch.

Going Steady

Starting the Horror is Queer showcase reel was this hilarious take on hidden sexuality with a dash of Weekend at Bernie’s.

When a young woman does not want accept her her partner’s plan to get married she transforms him into something she finds more attractive and lives out her dreams

Genuinely funny and really heartfelt at times.

The Cleanse

Playing to a more Queer-themed Mean Girls aesthetic, The Cleanse follows a group of obnoxious high schoolers who are offered to take the cleanse diet.

This diet it turns out has deadly consequences and brings hidden desires to the surface. There is commentary on diet culture and really goes for it in its final reel.

Meta

This was a fascinating watch as we explore the whole prom narrative played out from a transgender point of view.

Meta also puts a horror twist to proceeding and also explores hidden roles plus how people are perceived against who they actually are.

Through the eyes of Arty we see that in some circles he is widely accepted as a transgender person, whereas maybe he hasn’t fully accepted himself yet. For a short film it asks plenty of questions.

The Hollow Hours

When a gay male couple move into their first home together they are greeted by a mysterious clock which has presumably been left by a previous owner.

From here things take a turn as they are unable to rid themselves of the clock whilst also seeing potential futures, good and bad.

The Hollow Hours is interestingly shot with characters going in and out of a static shot with the clock the constant.

Don’t Text Back

This quirky short explores a girl trying to escape the clutches of a toxic relationship which has led to her having a necklace trapped around her neck.

There is plenty of social commentary on toxic masculinity and asks the question if queerness is the answer to failed male relationships for some women?

Polter

Jose faces a series of paranormal events and fights against a supernatural entity, whilst trying to get to the bottom of the occurence.

A unique mix of laughs and genuine scares plus exploring the issue of marriage as a manifestation of possession for some.

Polter is lighthearted but also has a message.

Limerence

This short promised a lot but failed deliver as we follow the journey of a young woman who is seemingly trapped in her’s families cinema business.

We do explore themes of loneliness and isolation but it doesn’t really grab the attention as feels laboured and ironically long for a short film.

The Rule of Three

The Rule of Three explores the themes of mental illness from the point of view of a final girl survivor of a massacre.

We see how trauma really affects someone as Aly becomes OCD about trivial actions like locking doors, but the performance is so raw we are really drawn in.

This feels very much like the flip of what Sidney Prescott could have become in Scream 3, as Aly is isolated but is clearly a broken person.

We are also treated to more music from composer Alexander Taylor (Scream Queen My Nightmare on Elm Street), which complements proceedings perfectly. The highlight of the short programme for this reviewer.

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