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Monday, November 19, 2018

BAFF 2018: Best Short Films of the Fest

This year's Buried Alive Film Festival has perhaps the best crop of short horror films I've seen to date! As always, if any of these sounds interesting to you, seek them out and support the filmmakers!

Helsinki Mansplaining Massacre
Dir. IIja Rautsi – Finland – 15min

I was thrilled to see the amount of fantastically feminist shorts at this year's festival, and this was one of my favorites. After a couple has a car accident, they are held captive by a bunch of men who cannot believe the woman is a horror fan. With my favorite jump scare of the whole festival–a man bursts through a door saying, "You're not a real horror fan! Name your top ten horror films!"–this one is super clever and painfully funny.

Should You Meet A Lady In A Darkened Wood
Dir. Daniel Stankler – UK – 4min

This animated short is totally gorgeous, done in a very classic looking animated style that feels incredibly Halloweeny. You can watch the whole film above, and if you're reading this, stop and watch instead. I'd love to see more like this!

Tuesday’s Crowd
Dir. William Kioultzopoulos – 20min

I'm generally staunchly against 'long' short films, but this one works very, very well. A fry cook who is having a bad night intersects with a couple gangsters in a night that gets increasingly weird. This plays like a sequence from an early Paul Thomas Anderson film, and is definitely worth seeking out!

Dir. Kate Dolan – Ireland – 9min

Another great feminist piece! After a man exposes himself to some women on the street, he finds himself being hunted by them, only now they have turned into terrifying cat-women. This is a fantastic concept that feels sadly relevant, and is the perfect kind of subject for a short film.

Post Mortem Mary
Dir. Joshua Long – Australia – 10min

This exceptionally well produced period piece sees a young girl in the 1840s helping her mother in the extremely creepy job of taking post-mortem photos. She is told to make a dead child seem alive, and the results are spine-tinglingly eerie. Definitely a prestige kind of short film, and one that seems ripe for feature adaptation.

Great Choice
Dir. Robin Comisar – 7min

I think we've found a well deserved successor to Too Many Cooks! This bizarre and hilarious film starts with a Red Lobster commercial from 1994, then rewinds the tape to see it play out again and again, with the woman becoming more self-aware that she's trapped in a loop each time. The awesome Carrie Coon (Fargo, Gone Girl) stars in what becomes a surreal, nostalgic nightmare.

Nothing a Little Soap and Water Can’t Fix
Dir. Jennifer Proctor – 9min

Using only clips from other films, this film cuts through all the repeated motions of women in bathtub scenes in film (and horror movies in particular) history. We go from opening the steamy door, to dipping the toe, to drinking a glass of wine, all the way to the often bloody end. All the shots that are used (and overused) in these kinds of scenes create its own surreal, anxious narrative when placed together. This one could not have possibly been more up my alley, and belongs in the best experimental shorts blocks!

Riley Was Here
Dir. Jon Rhoads and Mike Marrero – USA – 15min

This somber, dark film takes a unique spin on the zombie genre and tells a very compelling story within that universe. In a world where the zombie outbreak was quelled and a vaccine was created, some extremists intentionally get infected as a sort of high. This is all slowly revealed in this excellently shot and tensely edited short.

We Got a Monkey's Paw
Dir. Aaron Pagniano – USA – 9min

This short film tells the story of two roommates: Zach is obsessed with occult adventures but Jakki is sick of it and looking for a way out. When Zach reveals he has a monkey's paw, their wishes (of course) go awry and cause all kinds of chaos, from time travel to 'mombies' (mom zombies). It's got a fantastic sense of humor, great performances, and some super clever gags, so I'm looking forward to what this crew does next!

The Buried Alive Film Festival happens in Atlanta, Georgia in November each year. Check out buriedalivefilmfest.com for details on next year's fest!
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