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Short Cuts: The Short Horror Review Roundup for March

Friday, March 20, 2020 | Short Films

Hello readers! Odds are you’re on here searching for a bit of a reprieve from the COVID-19 pandemic, so I’ll see what I can do to help make all of this social distancing a bit more bearable.

First off, an interesting tidbit of news in the short horror world. Heidi Honeycutt, who you may know as a horror film journalist, author, and programmer, has recently joined Shaked Berenson’s Entertainment Squad as Vice President of Episodic and Short-Form Content. In her new role, Honeycutt will be curating short-form content for distribution as well as developing original content for the company’s new digital streaming series. 

“I’m incredibly honored to be working with Shaked and Jonathan,” says Honeycutt. “This is an exciting time for short films and for digital streaming and I look forward to bringing new talent to the forefront of the entertainment industry through my work with Entertainment Squad.” Entertainment Squad’s first short content project is a curated digital series set to air on streaming services in Summer 2020. Follow Honeycutt on Twitter for updates as she gets to work in her new role.

And now on to the shorts! This month, we’ve got a film that screws with one of the lamest horror tropes, an unlikely vampire fighter, a funky take on a Poe classic, and more! As always, if you or anyone you know have a short film you’d like me to consider or if you’ve got some news you’d like to share in the short horror world, please contact me via Twitter or email me at!

Page One (2019)
Length: 8 minutes Director: Don P. Hooper Starring: Tarik Davis, Dorcas Davis, John Mesnick, Alexandra Turshen
We all know about the age-old trend that the black guy dies first in a horror movie. But in Don P. Hooper’s short (written by star Tarik Davis) one black actor has been using lessons learned from being the first to die on “page one” in most of his films to stay alive when shit hits the fan in real life. It’s a funny, no-holds-barred look at racial dynamics turned on their head in a film that Hooper and Davis hope to one day produce as a feature. But while this film may be a proof on concept for a feature, it doesn’t use that as a cheat to make an incomplete film. The cliffhanger left me wanting more, though, so let’s hope a feature comes to fruition.
Where you can find it: Streaming on YouTube

Length: 4 minutes Director: Danny Takacs Starring: Evie Takacs
Damn you, Danny Takacs. I knew where this movie was going right from the beginning, but that didn’t make it any less harrowing. The short follows a woman as she’s cleaning out her basement, and she finds an unfamiliar box in the titular crawlspace. In the box are a few child-made drawings of the house, and all seems rather innocuous until the woman notices some of the drawings depict something rather unpleasant placed right in the very same basement where she’s standing. Hell, you probably know where this is going just from reading this, but I’ll bet that won’t keep you from watching it with clenched teeth and/or buttocks. 
Where you can find it: Streaming on Vimeo

Length: 9 minutes Director: Glen Matthews Starring: Hugh Thompson, Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves, Josh Cruddas, Everleigh Mabley, Sarah D. McCarthy 
A lot of horror movies incorporate some kind of creepy janitor or caretaker, usually as a red herring or just to get the audience appropriately creeped out at the beginning of a movie. But what happens when the creepy janitor takes center stage? That’s what we get in Glen Matthews’ short featuring an aging custodian working the graveyard shift at a healthcare facility. He’s got crippling arthritis in his hands and he doesn’t seem to have the best social skills. But when something starts going bump in the maternity ward, he’s the closest thing to a hero that we’re going to get. It’s a film that keeps you guessing until the final scene about just where everything is going, but I dare say Matthews finds a way to end on a note that’s both deeply disturbing and yet also a wee bit heartwarming. 

Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds. Watch the trailer here.

Danny’s Girl
Length: 13 minutes Director: Emily Wilson Starring: Danny Dikel, Remy Bennett
Usually the fear about meeting someone online is that they’re going to turn out to be some kind of weirdo. But when both people are their own brand of weird it can work out for the best, as we see in Emily Wilson’s short about an extremely awkward man named Danny who goes off to meet his online girlfriend for the first time. When she leaves him alone with a mysterious box she’s been carrying with her, things take a bizarre turn as Wilson bounces between funny, dark, and poignant tones in a way that, against all logic, somehow works. Ultimately it’s actually a very sweet film, but it’s wrapped up in some pretty nutty window dressing.
Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds. Check out the website for updates. 

The Tell Tale Heart
Length: 22 minutes Director: McClain Lindquist Starring: Sonny Grimsley, Mikah Olsen, Teren Turner, James C. Morris
There’s a lot to like about this short based on Edgar Alan Poe’s tale of a disturbed man’s dark confession. It visually translates the unnamed narrator’s descent into madness in a lot of interesting ways, it features a soundtrack as varied and manic as his mental state, and it also doesn’t hold back on the red stuff when he attacks the poor old man in his care. But by setting the story in modern day, Lindquist acknowledges something I’ve always noticed about Poe: although he’s a brilliant storyteller, my man tends to be a bit wordy. Watching the cops react to the narrator’s insistence on pontificating with Poe’s original text adds a layer of humor that I really appreciated. This one’s just a lot of fun.

Where you can find it: Making the festival rounds. Watch the trailer here.

Bryan Christopher