Film festivals are a great way to view films or short films that haven’t quite hit the market yet, sometimes waiting on a wider release or running the circuit in an attempt to be picked up by distribution companies. Here are three more gems from the HorrOrigins film festival.
Momma, Dont Go.
Directed By: Rafael De Leon Jr.
If you ever wanted to show somebody a short film to showcase efficiency and payoff within a very short amount of time, then look no further.
Two home-invaders, Grey and Olive, break into the wrong house to fulfill their thievish ways, they end up murdering one family member and tragically wounding another. The daughter of the family, Claire, pleads to Grey for her mother’s medicine in an attempt to protect her. Grey satisfies this request and retrieves the “medicine”, unknowing of its effects, he has now put Olive and himself in a lethal situation.
This is a fully-realized home-invasion flick with a sick creature feature twist honing incredible effects. It works as both, and I would be completely remiss if I did not acknowledge how brilliantly the story unfolded, keeping us in the dark until the big reveal. Suspenseful from the second the film opens until the final frame, while the actors keep us engaged and holding onto the edge of our seats. We are dropped in the middle of the action, so there isn’t much set-up or context for anything that has happened before and lends itself to a tonne of interpretation which is great for any other additions to this story we may get in the future. With my fingers crossed I do hope to see more of this story or something similar.
Mommy’s Little Monster
Directed By: Patrick Green
A tale of domestic abuse survivors, Kim (Jenny Pellicer) and her son Philip (Tate Birchmore), on the run from their abusive husband and father. Holed up in Kim’s father’s cabin, isolated somewhere within a remote mountainside, allowing suspense and anxiety to creep in from every direction.
A psychological workshop that not only teaches us to face our fears head-on but to also see the impact of a mother’s love as she becomes the protector. The implications of horror here are truly scarier than a nose dive into visceral terror. There is ambiguity involved with the threat leaving the themes open for interpretation. Fear and anxiety of the unknown and possibly the inevitability of the situation can surely cause a heightened sense of paranoia and mental hallucinations. Jenny Pellicer in the role of Kim is fantastic, as I am not familiar with her other works, but has now become a prominent spec on my radar after this performance. Jenny is able to capture fear and anxiety in her facial expressions while also being able to stay strong and compassionate towards her son. Tate Birchman does an honorable job as well, he is able to adequately encompass a child who is left in the dark during this confusing situation, intimidated and scared. As anyone of us would be in this predicament.
Directed By: Niels Bourgonje
A woman that goes nameless in this short, is played by Ebony Obsidian (known from her role in Amazon Prime Original series “Hunters”), finds a match on a tinder-like app with a nameless stranger who is played by Jefferson White (Netflix Original “House of Cards”). Things take a dark turn as the stranger gets uncomfortably closer at an alarming rate.
What we have here is a stalker story cut from the loins of a technology-based social commentary. I do love this premise because it is so believable and timely, it can forge many twists and turns that leave you dangling on the edge of your seat. The cinematography, although dimly lit throughout, is beautiful and claustrophobic, allowing us as the viewer to feel like we are right with the protagonist. We get some great lighting from her cellphone that lights up her face and showcases her great facial expressions but also diminishes any movement that may or may not be going on in the background. This short absolutely works at creeping you out and leaves you gasping for air. I could see this game of cat and mouse airing on an app like Quibi (no longer available) or taking on a 15-minute episodic approach. This could work tremendously as a series of some sort…or just as a standalone short film. Either way, I sincerely hope to get more thrills and chills out of this director.
If you have watched everything you can possibly watch on your streaming services, or even if you haven’t and want to check out something fresh, and to support indie filmmakers that make high-quality art. Please seek these out, give away your hard-earned money so that others can make that cold hard cash after putting in their blood, sweat, and tears to provide entertainment for us. I promise you won’t be disappointed.