In January ARROW presents an exclusive selection of the outstanding entries from its HORROR LOCKDOWN SHORTS contest, short films delivering slick, sharp scares, delving into oft-uncharted and bizarre worlds, offering a glimpse of burgeoning new talent just waiting to burst forth. The entries were judged by cult directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who said the films are “better than they have any right to be”.
A fun minute long short that has the audience view the world in the eyes of a baby. When the lights go out and the baby wakes up a terrible fuzzy like being appears. Left alone in the room the baby has no chance.
There is a great use of animation here in the opening titles to bring a little bit of dread to proceedings thanks to the elongated shadow of the trees. This coupled with the animation of the being,it is great character design that brings a true sense of horror to the such a short film. William Allum has done something joyous here and Emma Allum is a star in the making.
A Date with Death
A girl has a bad date and just wants to get home, The guy walks here home to make sure she gets safe, she rebuffs this to her friend on the phone, unbeknownst to here. Someone is in the house with her.
A great little set up and one that is so easily effective. What is so clearly evident is that Giallo horror and specifically Dario Argento’s Suspiria are heavy influences on A Date With Death. This doesn’t harm the film at all, in fact it becomes a wonderful homage to the genre. The use of split screens here are also excellent thanks to the angle from the staircase. A very well thought out piece that would work just as well in a longer piece as it does here. Bravo to Tom Hughes.
What lengths would you go to, to have your new partner look like your dream person? In Ken Cohen’s macabre UnTooned we find out. The twist being that our lead’s dream person is an oddly shaped cartoon character.
Our chirpy happy go lucky lead gives us the low down on her situation, filmed as if it is a vlog for her audiences to see. Everything down to music lends us to believe this is your average girl. Then we get to what she wants her dream guy to look like and we venture far off the deep end of sanity.
The make up work here is very, very strong. With the surgically enhanced boyfriend looking quite horrific, yet on the nose for the character he is meant to be like. It is a simple piece, but a lot of work had to go into that make up design. A great 59 second jaunt into the glory of special effects make up.
The Wedding Ritual
A bride awakens to find herself tied to a tree somewhere in a forest with no one around, until blanket clad people being to emerge from behind trees around her.
Aleksandr Chitrenko’s The Wedding Ritual is fantastic. A sharp short that makes use of Special effects very well, this is a jarring short as you don’t expect what comes each time. Also the surprise of how well done the work is heightens your appreciation of it. There is some better Special effects work here than in some modern horrors. What also makes this a great film is there is some great cinematography on screen as well. The Wedding Ritual is a very visually rich film. Simple and to the point and in horror that is what you want. An outstanding couple of minutes.
A mother is looking at insects she has in her garden, distracted from things, the world. Her daughter tries to arrange coming up to visit her parents, worried. She is told not to worry, that it is too dangerous, but what is she hiding as her garden becomes more and more overgrown.
The focus on the torture of the insects wanting to escape their glass cages and our reaction to being trapped inside for months does not go unnoticed. What helps The Garden stand out is the acting in it. The mother played by Jane Arnfield is terrific here. It is clear from the offset that she is struggling with something and the guilt that is wrapped around her need an escape it and all of her worries grows on her. This black and white piece expertly shows its audience how horror can be done without the gore or the special effects. By focusing on the tone and acting we are creeped out by the story. Ian Cottage is one to look out for.
When a germaphobe has the anxiety of not only a virus that can infect and possible kill you to deal with, but also a water based black demon that is coming for her, how will she cope and is everything she is seeing real?
Insecticide makes the use of its black and white visuals to make us look at every corner of the screen for the apparent monster but also to utilise the darkness so the black being can hide. We are also presented with a resourceful lead who only wants to survive and will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens. This is an interesting take on the virus. Is there a being chasing her, or is it her visualised version of the virus coming for her. No matter what she is never going to be as safe as she wants to be.
Bryan M. Ferguson has delivered a spectacular film here. It conjures all of our real fears of what has been going on and merely ramped them up to 11. The cinematography is also wonderful with how it causes the audience to have a true sense of defeat. If washing oneself in bleach while using an oxygen mask is our future then what is the point? A bleak film that brings out the worst fears humans have.
That is the end of our part 2, remember to look back at the first 4 final choices from the competition here. There was a lot to love here and seeing as some were merely only a couple of minutes in length, all are astounding pieces. Congratulations to everyone involved. I hope these type of series continues (without the lockdown).
As a reminder, if you have any films or shorts that you would like covered, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try and give it a review and boost!
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