BITS 2022: Pre-Feature Shorts

The Right One

Director: A.J. Demers

The Right One plays outs a scene as a woman who is trying to summon her lost sister through dark folk magic. Instead, she ends up summoning someone impersonating her who is trying to lure her with the pretense of helping her find her sister.

Running at almost 5 minutes, The Right One is a very straightforward tale. It doesn’t take any deep dives about magic and it mainly focuses on that one task and hand and the conversation between a desperate sister and a manipulative spirit that has shifted into her sister’s appearance. There aren’t a ton of scares however the atmosphere is done pretty well as it uses a dark background to create an ominous feeling which is a suitable setting for the tale it is telling.

My Soul To Take

Director (and writer): Laura Vandervoort

Cast: Jenny Raven, Colm Feore, Rainbow Sun Francks

Hopeless and lonely, Quinn accepts a software update on her phone. An update, which summons her into a dream world of antiquities, powerlessness and night terror. – IMDB

My Soul To Take is probably one of the best shorts that I’ve seen this year. It is the directorial debut for actress Laura Vandervoort (Rabid). She tells a tale about the current mindless reliance on technology which becomes the main avenue for Quinn, who relies on her sleep app to go to sleep and gets lured into a dream world that starts out to enchant her but soon turns into one that traps her by sleep paralysis. The film also has a decent cast with Jenny Raven as Quinn and Colm Feore as Fred, the man who seems to manage the dream world she enters.

Playing on modern technology in horror films isn’t unseen, especially with short films and most of them focus around technology like command programs like Alexa, however My Soul to Take goes right to the source to a dead cellphone update. Its one of those subconscious things that everyone does to keep their gadget up to date and functioning and one of those things that no one really thinks twice about and that is what makes this tale all the more scarier in a very psychological way.

Second Life

Director: Darrin Rose

Cast: Ava Julien, Suresh John, Darrin Rose, Nigel Downer, Arwen Humphreys, Natalie Dale, James Mancini, Chris Violette, Daniel Woodrow

Second Life is set in a future where everyone is given a chance to finding a second life for their loved ones with replacement robots. The truth as revealed when  robot replacement wife tried to find a way to break free after her human husband leaves her. This leads to the discovery and truth of what is actually going wrong.

Overall, Second Life has a creative setting for the future. It feels like the premise also could use an expansion with a full feature so it can explore the nitty gritty of the situation completely. The acting and cast is decent. Theres some action and mystery. It does come together pretty good. What does make this short work how it builds from the first reveal to building its story from that point on.

Viewfinder

Director: Tiffany Wice

Cast: Becca Clapperton, Jakub Zieba, Patrick Ritcey

Running at a swift 4 minutes, Viewfinder is a short about a nighttime shoot that goes wrong when the photography notices a mysterious entity in its viewfinder.

Despite its short length, this short is honestly a ton of fun. There’s a good bit of sinister that builds up and the entity in the viewfinder is well-executed to create enough spooks but never truly knowing exactly what it is. There’s something so vulnerable about having to look for something in a small camera viewfinder. It creates the tension build-up of expecting it to show up anything from any angle and the person would never see it. Considering those moments are in first person perspective, the audience feels that same fear and tension.

One of Those Good Lives

Director (and writer): Joseph Carney

Cast: Sean Depner, Donald Sales

One of the Good Lives is about a young man Steve who is hit by a car and ends up appearing in a worn out opera house. There he meets the Ticket Taker who flips through his book and tells him that he is set for a good life and he is destined to go bring a muffin to the homeless man everyday.

One Of These Good Lives have two great performances by its actors. The script also is one that works really well and the conversation between Steve and the Ticket Master grabs attention right away especially since the audience somewhat jas an idea where Steve is but he seems to have no idea or a confused attitude towards it. What works the best is the build up of the conversation to the ending which is a fun turn of events and gives that final comedy and dark humor a nice wrapup. Its also takes hints (or maybe in its way a homage) from Inception and Donald Sales dialogue and expressions almost feels like an inpersonation of Samuel L. Jackson. One of Those Good Lives is a short full of dark humor that has an incredibly strong script.

Fishbowl

Director (and co-writer): Ryan M. Andrews

Cast: Michael Joseph Delaney, Watson Rose, Katisha Shaw

Fed up with the limelight, a rock legend hides out at the apartment of an overzealous fan. But he will soon learn that he can’t hide from his struggles with addiction and his enabling wife forever. – IMDB

Fishbowl starts off its short a tad odd. It does set up the situation pretty well and gives the overzealous fan character a rather mysterious vibe throughout the whole short. When the wife character appears, it turns into a rather annoying phase and then takes a very comedic turn of event, which isn’t but because it turns the tone around so quickly, it actually has this bizarre but comedic moment to it. Its a decent execution since that gives the final reveal a lot more footing and a lot more shock value.

The Fall

Director: Desirae Witte

Cast: Brian David Gilbert

Leafie is a plucky little maple leaf who loves to groove. But when their latest performance takes an unexpected turn, the harsh realities of the season come crashing down. – IMDB

Running at 2 minutes or so, The Fall is absolutely the most creative animated film. It manages to flip an event that everyone loves of watching fall colors until they fall to a comedy about the leaf itself as it enjoys its beautiful colors dancing around to the absolute fright of falling down. Its done in a comedic way and ends on a really clever dark humor moment.

Mindful Meditation

Director: Louis La Vella

Cast: Monica La Vella

Mindful Meditation is a 2.5 minutes short about a woman who sits down to listen to a meditation session when it connects her with an entity.

There’s not a whole lot here to talk about. Mindful Meditation is very straightforward in its narrative. Its basically one scene that happens through a guided meditation. The only thing happening is the voice doing the guided meditation and the girl emoting to what she is hearing. At the same time, things are happening in the background at certain cues. While its a fairly short short film, this one does do some pretty cool things. One of them is how it treats this entity and second is using the surrounding to create tension effectively.

Mother Tongue

Director (and writer): Shelly J. Hong

Cast: April Park, Shelly J. Hong, Eilish Shin-Culhane, Mara Pupp, Phil Kim

Mother Tongue tells the story of Grace, a woman who returns to her childhood home seeking answers from her mother that had abandoned her when her daughter starts to show some unusual behavior.

Mother Tongue is an intriguing short. There’s something really intricate about the affair at hand between this belated conversation between a daughter and her mother as she tries to find the answers to help her own daughter. Its a bit vague on the spirit front but there’s enough here to be pulled into the story and the relationship between the mother-daughter as she faces the reason for her abandonment. These also a short that truly could be turned into a full-length feature to dive deeper into the religious/spiritual elements of the whole narrative.

Not Another Serial Killer

Director: Angela Hanna Goulene & Alessandro Russotti

Cast: Angela Goulene, Thierry Gauvin, Jean-Philippe Thériault, Xavier Truong, Max Laferriere

Tessa Fey is a young millennial with many assets; only one problem, though, all the men she attracts are serial killers. – IMDB

Not Another Serial Killer is an incredibly fun short. Tessa breaks the 4th wall as she talks to the camera throughout the whole experience. Its a pretty fun dialogue overall. The only issue here is that Angela Goulene seems to get a little caught up and doesn’t quite enunciate as well so some of the dialogue feels a little rushed and jumbled. Other than that, there isn’t much to criticize here as her point of attracting serial killers is one that becomes increasing real as the cop shows up and the audience soon realizes that its not just male interests that the equation works. Its a pretty fun and comedic short and despite some enunciation problems, the short is an outstanding job overall.

Consumer

Director (and co-writer): Stephanie Izsak

Cast: Eden Summer Gilmore, Jill Morrison, Jude Wilson, Princess Davis, Henry J. Mah

Tortured by toxic beauty standards, thirteen-year-old Rein discovers an unconventional and disturbing way to lose weight. She thinks she’s found a fast track to perfection…but ends up biting off more than she can chew. – IMDB

Consumer is a wild viewing experience. Its cuts to the chase about the toxicity of beauty standards especially for teens and the inner self who constantly body shames mentally. The eating disorder demon that lives in the mind and how we our usually our worst enemy comes into play here as Rein, a girl who has no reason to feel ashamed about her body feels that her lack of popularity is because of it and ends up going to desperate measures to acquire a very intense medicine which we learn early in school that this specific thing is pretty bad and without actually knowing the details perhaps, rashly tries it and ends up with some very horrific consequences as things go out of control. Its a well-executed short since its the inner voice that dominates more than actual conversation.

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One thought on “BITS 2022: Pre-Feature Shorts

  1. Pingback: Adventures & What’s Up – November 2022 | Tranquil Dreams

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