Emerging Screams is a shorts program of Blood in the Snow Film Festival which features new or first-time Canadian genre directors.
Director: Rosalee Yagihara
Cast: Bethany Brown, Luvia Petersen
As romantic tensions consume Cote and her girlfriend, a pesky hangnail triggers a downward spiral into obsession. – IMDB
The most spinechilling premises are the ones surrounding the subtle things in life. In this short, its about biting your nails and hangnails to almost an unstoppable state where the more her girlfriend says not to do it, the worse it is for her temptation. Gnaw eventually decides into body horror to a certain extent and it is both cringey and disturbing all at the same time.
Director: Gabriel Miron
Cast: Sara Sue Vallee
Folk is a much more extensive short which takes place on Halloween night when two kids in creepy masks ring at her doorbell for candy and won’t go away. Except they end up finding a way in and making her join some kind of ritual.
Creepy kids is almost always a winning element in horror films and this one is no exception. Add in the nicely crafted creepy atmosphere and this short has a good horror film to it with decent elements of home invasion and use of both sounds and silence as well as lighting. While the narrative and what the ritual actually did feels a little unclear, its hard to waive the fear of this whole situation.
Smiley Face (2022)
Director: Francois Ricard-Sheard
Cast: Alice Clément, Sara Sue Vallee, Anais Damphousse Joly, Devin Swift, Jérémie Garipépy Ferland
Three young women fight for their lives as they fall prey to a flesh-eating humanoid creature. – IMDB
Something of a creature feature, Smiley Face takes on both creature design and a narrative that starts at the end and circles back at how it gets to that point. The narrative and execution style is one that is pretty good (but then I have a bias towards anything that does a clever little play which creates the feeling of going full circle). The creature itself isn’t really scary even if its running stance looks like a little like a human imitating a chicken or an ostrich running but the film does have a lot of gore as it does eat humans.
While there’s a certain creepiness to this and some odd humanoid creature eating these girls and then at some point they get dragged away by someone, who we learn in the credits is a dwarf, there’s a lot of unexplained elements here. Granted the short is only 9 minutes long so its understand. It would have been nice to have a little bit more context.
Director (and co-writer): Alexandre Nachi
Cast: Felix-Antoine Cantin, Alexandre Nachi, Jules Ronfard, Sandrine Bisson, Evelyne de la Cheneliere, Isabelle Vincent, Sylvain Cantin, Felix Beaulieu-Duchesneau, Laurent Allaire
444 tells the story of man who wakes up with no memories in an unknown house and unfamiliar family that seems to be constantly changing and is asked to “Trust the protocol”.
444 refers to the 4:44 on the clock which is shown a few times in the film perhaps the time things reset in real life or his memory. Its a pretty odd and trippy narrative but the acting is pretty decent and theres some clever moments and good cinematography playing well with the lighting and color palette to bring out the mood and atmosphere.
L’Abattu des Vents (The Wind Down, 2021)
Director (and writer): Félix-Antoine Garneau-Chouinard
Alone on a secluded island, a lightkeeper is prisoner of his own madness. – IMDB
L’abattu du Vents is a rather unique one as it has no dialogue and is an animated film using clay figures or at least the main character is like that. This short is fairly straightforward in its portrayal and rhe execution is decent as well.
Stitched Up (2022)
Director: Keisha James
Stitched Up is about a friend who buys a sewing machine for his sewing friend to find out that the sewing machine is alive and they must find a way to retaliate.
Stitched Up is something of a horror comedy and feels very campy however with the premise its going for, it all fits well together. Its fairly silly as a whole and everything seems deliberately done to embrace the campiness completely. While the story is simple and the acting is a tad over the top, its fits well with the overall feeling and tone of this scene.
Previously seen at Toronto After Dark HERE
The Cradle (2022)
Previously seen at Toronto After Dark HERE.
Director (and writer): Spencer Zimmerman
Cast: Blakely David, Siobhan Connors
Darkside tells the story of an astronaut who struggles to complete his mission to find a lost crew after a devastating tragedy.
Darkside is probably the best of the program as a whole. Its about a space expedition that goes wrong. The story backtracks to his memories and conversation that leads him there to eventually reveal what he had lost in the tragedy. From the visuals amd cinematography to the acting and depth of the script, Darkside has it all and keeps the balance and pacing in this 10 minute short.
***This Blood in the Snow Film Festival short film program is available on Super Channel on November 22nd at 12am EST.***