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Grimmfest Short Film Showcase reviews

We aren’t finished with this year’s Grimmfest 2021, here is a roundup of some of the short films that played during the 4-day festival –

#NoFilter

Beth, an insecure twenty-something, becomes obsessed with an insidious phone app filter. Nathan Crooker’s short shines a light on the vanity of the social media generation and their need to always look their best no matter the consequences.

#NoFilter takes things one step further as the apps take charge and start to dictate Beth’s social media presence but what is the cost? Part social satire, part body horror, #NoFilter is a slick package.

Aftertaste

Moll and Alfie are on the verge of falling in love after a few years of friendship – but she has a secret that threatens not only their budding romance, but also his life.

This sexually charged short tackles what its like to potentially fall in love with someone who may be a vampire. Aftertaste plays with its concept from the outset and uses the Hitchcock ‘bomb under the table’ approach regarding its tension. Two solid performances including Joe Dempsie of Game of Thrones fame plus a surprising finale. Great stuff.

All of You

Convinced she’s somehow incomplete without the presence of a romantic partner, a young woman is persuaded to take part in a mysterious ritual of self-discovery…

Self-discovery retreats always feel like a place when things could go very wrong, so the perfect setting for a horror film! All Of You takes no time at all dialling up the crazy but also tries to work messages into the narrative and feels quite intimate whilst existing in a twisted dystopia with a potentially unreliable narrator. An entertaining hot mess.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

This Canadian short deals with a paranoid boyfriend who becomes increasingly suspicious of his partner after returning home after 6 months.

The intensity of the situation is increased when he finds a large spider in the house and attempts to get rid of it.

Itsy Bitsy Spider provides a commentary on abusive relationships and the problem with keeping secrets from significant others. On its limited budget this is beautifully shot and while we are left with a slightly ambiguous conclusion but you cannot deny its ambition.

Anniversary

Rubin and Lily just got married, are expecting a baby, and are driving off into the sunset. It was supposed to be the best day of their lives…

It’s never good to breakdown, especially when you are on the way back from tying the knot. Anniversary plays with a nightmare scenario and through a twist of fate creates an intense handful of minutes that really uses its score to amp up the tension. The conclusion is especially harrowing and gut wrenching.

Body of the Mined

A quiet young woman moves into a new building and meets a reclusive engineer at the brink of completing work on an extraordinary machine.

Experiments and advancements always take chances others may not consider, which is important to remember as we see a scientist (presumably) attempt to extract the brain or brain energy from a rat during the opening scene of this short.

We quickly find out he might be in some sort of trouble whilst also dealing with a deaf girl who has recently moved as a lodger. Could she be the key to his research?

Things take an even darker turn as we get a full idea of what he has been up to, with Body of the Mined becoming more of a sci fi body horror affair.

High concept, well filmed and going to some unexpected places – a truly excellent film.

Cry Baby

A toddler’s life is suddenly turned upside down. The attention she once had from her mother is no more – all because of HIM!

Cry Baby is definitely about the difficulty of being an older sibling when a baby burst onto the scene and starts to steal your thunder. What’s unique about the film is the way it puts us in the young child’s shoes and we get a perspective we’re perhaps not used to.

There is an underlying sinister tone here plus Cry Baby conjures up a bone-chilling sequence that will have hairs on your neck standing up. Beware this goes on to a really dark place.

Cutter

A teenage self-harmer in recovery and her overbearing mother are haunted by a ghost who seeks to keep them at odds.

Seeing a person who has self harmed is never nice and from the first few seconds you know that Cutter is going to be an uncomfortable watch. We explore the fractured relationship between a mother and daughter in the aftermath of the teen’s release from a mental facility.

Wile things do have a supernatural twinge this is much more a deeper and harrowing tale about how things seem and what actually happens. This is is another short that goes to a very dark place and will leave an aftertaste.

Don’t Go Outside

A woman wakes up in the desert in an amnesic state and doesn’t know who she is or why she’s there, all she knows is a mysterious caller keeps calling to tell her, “don’t go outside.”

Shot on 8mm, ‘Don’t Go Outside’ has a grainy quality that makes it feel like its plucked out the 1970s. This short feels like it preys on the lockdown paranoia of the past 2 years but in a bit more of a sinister way. The real terror feels like it slips under the surface, but is always present. A decent effort with a real message.

Faces

Faces is a love story for an era of programmed obsolescence.

We follow a couple who are getting hot and heavy, fully in throes of teenage lust, but when the girl goes to the toilet something happens that could change everything. ‘Faces’ asks questions of our perception on looks and how much they matter in relationships.

Faces feels like a mini episode of Black Mirror that hasn’t been made yet.

Flip

A mother and a daughter must destroy their male oppressors if they are to survive.

While on the surface Flip feels like a survivalist tale its narrative has a twinge of post-apocalypse to it. This short does shy away from being explicit as your female duo are set upon in brutal fashion by their captors, making for some difficult scenes to watch.

Flip is bone crunching but also has the heartfelt tale of a mother and daughter at its core and feels much more than the 12 minutes we get here. One of the best offerings in the short film showcase so far.

Out Of Body

A young model is coerced into a macabre commercial shoot.

Getting into the modelling business can be tough, with some aspiring models doing photoshoots they may later regret, all to get the pay cheque. While there is an element of this in Out Of Body, director Enrico Po plays with the idea of a nervous young woman being thrust into a world she doesn’t truly understand.

While it does provide a gut punch of sorts its more the buildup that works here.

Rancour

A mother visits her reclusive adult son in a last ditch effort to convince him to come to the hospital to say goodbye to his dying father, but his resentment has a life of its own

Rancour is quite possibly one of the best short films I have seen in quite some time. While it seems like a heartbreaking tale of an estranged son who is given a chance to see his dad one last time, there is a body horror element going on here plus a monster that is up there with the recent work of Steven Kotanski for The Void.

Incredible sound and production design makes this such an immersive experience which is much deeper than it should have been. Incredible.

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