Funny Frights is the first BITS 2019 Shorts Program to kick off these collection of premieres of Canadian genre shorts. In this case, its a look at shorts on the lighter side of horror. The showcase includes 10 shorts which we have the opportunity to look at 9 of these.
The Video Store Commercial (2019)
Director: Cody Kennedy & Tim Rutherford
Cast: Joshua Lenner, Kevin Martin, Jesse Nash, Tim Rutherford
A desperate video store owner hires a crew to shoot a commercial in his shop. But when they accidentally destroy a cursed VHS, suddenly, all their lives are in danger.- and worse yet, the commercial may never get finished. – IMDB
The Video Store Commercial is a fun little horror comedy is all its best moments. It has some of the fantastic VHS static that builds up the film. It also has an over the top performance of the owner doing the commercial which is pretty entertaining in itself. The whole situation plays on what the viewer knows will go wrong and does in the form of something like a VHS monster of sorts which while looked low budget, actually fit into the whole shorts style and aesthetics really well. Its a satisfying short and one that fits perfectly in the horror comedy style with just enough quirk oddities to make it unique and memorable.
Video Vengeance (2019)
Director: Nada Cosovic
Cast: Madison Graves, Caitlin Nellist, Ty Hawley
Video Vengeance is a short about two stylish girls on the graveyard shift at a video store when an obnoxious customer enters to rent a movie. Just like the two female leads here, this short is full of visual style. It has fantastic color palette that highlights the more sinister bits. There’s also a great amount of quirk going on especially with the whole pause and play functions in between the scenes which adds a lot to the scenes itself. Plus, the obnoxious customer that comes in is fairly unlikable making it rather funny to watch the whole interaction go down.
Long Pig (2019)
Director: Nikolas Benn
Cast: Dave Walpole, Tommy Power, Mike Piwerka
Long Pig is a 7 minute short about an ex-con who lands an interview for a respectable well-paid job which takes a turn into something he didn’t quite expect. This short is one that focuses heavily on connecting with the dark humor that its using. The interview being a rather stressful experience and reflecting on how the ex-con in the hot seat is actually committing a lot of the faux-pas, the interview ramps up in its tension a little with the unsettling moments added in. Its not hard to imagine where it wants to go but having the interviewer role done so well to lead the short into some great territory while coyly keeping who and what this interview is for under wraps. There’s a great deal of finding the balance between subtlety and sudden over the top moments that make this short work very well.
Be Good (Sois Sage, 2019)
Director: Anik Jean
Cast: Sandrine Bisson, Nathan Jean-Huard, Anik Jean, Jean-Nicolas Verreault
Sois Sage is a French-Canadian short about Nathan, a six year old boy with a lot of imagination. He is constantly in costumes of everything from superheroes to werewolves. In his world of grown-ups, he longs for someone to play with and this time, he chooses it to be the new babysitter. Kids are always fun little additions to horror pieces as they can have that creepy and unsettling edge done rather well because of the contrast to their innocent expectations. The same applies to Nathan which adds the whole mystery of the extremities he takes his little play time with the nanny, not to mention that he is more clever than the grown-ups around him expect of him. Well-executed, properly unsettling and a great set of characters and dynamic set up between Nathan and his babysitter.
Director: Trevor Anderson
Docking is about Trevor’s reflection on his fear of dating. The picture above pretty much sums up the short, just think of it in a more sexual context…in space. Filming wise, its done pretty well. Context wise, its not clear exactly what it was about and the humor behind it (if it was intended) so we’ll just move on to the next short and let you all experience it when you get a chance.
Don’t Sneeze (2019)
Director: Ryan LaPlante
Don’t Sneeze is a very concise 2 minute short about a guy who sneezes during an inopportune moment and suffers some shocking consequences. Humor is a tricky thing and while this one takes a rather silly approach, the whole dialogue involved is actually rather on point in hitting those funny moments of sometimes there are things that can’t be controlled and then there are things that happen because too much of done. While this has some dumb humor elements (which isn’t exactly my cup of tea), its surprisingly enjoyable.
One Last Last Heist (2019)
Director (and writer): Darrin Rose
Cast: Suresh John, Darrin Rose, Ava Julien, Marito Lopez
The best cure for heartbreak is armed robbery. – IMDB
Its a bit of an odd selection to add to the theme of this shorts showcase but One Last Last Heist is an entertaining one. There are some over the top moments especially some over acting which probably does add to the humor of it all. The story itself aims to surprise in the small twist it has and in turn, takes an actual turn for the more comedic elements of a heist film.
The Trainee (2019)
Director: Ryan Couldrey
Cast: Marcella Young, Brian Quintero, Kira Hall
The Trainee is a 7 minute short about an interrogation of a criminal mastermind by an anti-hero that gets cut when her new trainee arrives on the scene. Shenanigans ensue and boy, are these shenanigans some hilarious time as it plays on the tropes of superheroes and their sidekicks from costume choices to the intimidating voices to the obvious question of whether violence to violence is the right way to do things. All this to bring it to a shocking wrap-up. Its a quick and well-paced short packed in with a ton of fun.
Asking For A Friend (2019)
Director (and writer): Kelsey Bollig
Cast: Victoria Lacoste, Jacqueline Bell
Definitely one of the longer shorts and much more fleshed out, Asking For A Friend runs at 25 minutes and tells the story of two best friend, Blake (Jacqueline Bell) and Q (Victoria Lacoste) who get tangled up in a murder by Q when they were just expecting to enjoy a relaxing night with nachos. Its messy with a body and won’t stop bleeding, drugged up and hallucinations and a crazy night of planning how to get rid of it. When problems come, thats what friends are for: to help without asking any questions. Asking For A Friend has high production value. The scenes are done well and the pacing is great. The two characters and what they go through, for so much blood is rather hilarious in all its graphic goodness. Getting rid of a body for the inexperience is clumsy and messy and they portray all of that so well but never forgetting that this is all a dark comedy of sorts and it delivers on every bit of it.
Not reviewed from this showcase:
Now Is The Printer Of Our Discontent (dir. Michael Peeling)
Funny Frights Shorts Program will be showing at Blood in the Snow Festival on November 23 at 4:30pm. You can find more info HERE.