BITS 2019: Emerging Screams Shorts Program

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Emerging Screams Shorts Showcase is a collection of Canadian horror short films featuring either brillian first time directors or the most promising student filmmakers. It features 10 short films over a variety of horror subgenres. There’s a lot f unique visions here whether in script or atmosphere or tension respectively in each of these.

Emerging Screams

Emerging Screams Shorts Showcase is screening at Blood in the Snow Festival on November 24th at 2pm. 

Spectre (2019)

Director: Gabriela Diacon & Mariana Diacon

Cast: Julia Krikorian & Alina Lapteva

Things turn sinister at midnight when Anna realizes a presence in her house. – IMDB

Running at 4 minutes long, Spectre is a very quick short that sets up its atmosphere really well. There are some creepy background details that go on. What is very  nice is how they set up the whole scene of each one, leaving space for the expectation of something to happen to ramp up some dread. Its a bit predictable in how the whole short runs, it uses the off screen and sounds to add to its atmosphere and mood.

Solitude (2019)

Director (and writer): Andrew Fleming

Cast: Andrew Fleming

Solitude is a very short thriller, running at 5 minutes, about a man who disconnects from the city life while campy and canoeing on his own through the Ontario backcountry. What starts out as a calm and mundane trip takes a turn when he discovers something very unsettling. The moment of change from nothing to something takes it off guard. It uses its single tone lurking and building intensity of the soundtrack to fill in the void and quietness and then ends it on a wonderfully clever ending, leaving a lot to the imagination. At the same time, it uses its lighting and darkness to build up the atmosphere and emptiness of being in the wild. Its a wonderfully executed short.

The Acrylic (2019)

The Acrylic

Director (and writer): Daniel Pike

Cast: Athena Kaitlin Trinh, Wendy German, Jarrett Siddall

On the hunt for some new art for her apartment walls, Rosie acquires a bizarre painting from an equally bizarre art collector… – IMDB

The rule of life we can all learn from watching horror movies is to not buy anything too ancient because its probably not going to be too good or something that looks ominous, like a completely blacked out painting. Just like the painting, The Acrylic is rather ominous. There are some very inexplicable things that happen to it throughout the course where as the owner of it probably wouldn’t dismiss like the one in the short. There’s a little leap of imagination to get past that point. However, the great part of this is the creativity in how the story goes and the creativity behind creating the unknown here. There’s some foreshadowing in the dialogue and then it really takes a creepy dark turn and does ramp up the tension very well in how the cinematography works and how each scene is set up to garner its focal point.

Snack Time! (2019)

Director: Kaw Tay Whee School students

Full of hand puppets and made by students from Kaw Tay Whee School which is located in Yellowknife, Snack Time! is all kinds of weird. Running at a mere 4 minutes, its a rather horror comedy sort of deal. There’s flesh-eating puppets with a plan to pretend to be kindergarten kids to find their next snack. Its honestly a bit wild and there are really no words to say about its execution but as a student project, its oddly entertaining. That’s probably the best way to describe it.

Experience Machine (2019)

Experience Machine

Director: Ivana Bittnerova

Cast: Joanna Caplan, Nicholas Koy Santillo, Jonathan Davies

A young mechanic and his family lead comfortable lives in a sleek underground bunker. His life of futuristic luxury begins to deteriorate when the medical device strapped to his wrist is corrupted, revealing the reality of their true dystopian world. – IMDB

Experience Machine is a much more refined short. It has a decent cast with pretty good acting. The story itself builds up the futuristic world that it is set in, giving the setting a background and foundation. The science fiction elements of this future also works with the broken down elements of technology and the luxuries it can bring as well as the escape from reality in the dystopian world. There’s quite a lot to like about the depth in the world created here which leaves a lot of space for its premise to be expanded if ever desired.

Death’s Toll (2019)

Death's Toll

Director (and co-writer): Spencer Hetherington

Cast: Nick Nylen, Rob Hetherington

When the bells toll, the heads roll. A bell tower becomes the harbinger of death at the hands of an ancient creature, Mortuus.

Running at less than 4 minutes, Death’s Toll is a rather peculiar one that doesn’t have much dialogue but lets its own lore to told through the course of events. While I am personally unfamiliar with ancient creature or if Mortuus is a real thing or a figment of the writer’s imagination, the short does achieve a nice cinematography in executing the film to build up on the suspense and the fear. The creature itself is also done rather well. Its a simple and straightforward horror story and there’s a lot of appreciation in creating something without a lot of dialogue.

New Woman (2019)

New Woman

Director: Benjamin Noah

Cast: Rhiannon Morgan, Stephen Oates

New Woman is a gothic tale about a mysterious wealthy woman living in a castle that has recently moved into the area and her invitation to a male pickpocket to her home which ends up into a descent into a labyrinth of terror in 1888.

Definitely one of the more polished short films presented here, this short starts off with a quick note on the whereabouts of the scenario and then follows the woman, their encounter, the invitation, the dinner and then what happens afterwards. The film score is so enchanting and beautiful and a little haunting as well, creating a fantastic atmosphere. At the same time, as the story progresses, there is an edginess and ominous feeling to the beautiful woman and then hints of what she might be. The cinematography of both capturing the beautiful snowy setting all the way to each interaction and focus and when to pull away for the each shot is set up so intricately. This is well-shot, well-executed and well-paced and very mysterious and captivating as a whole.

Trash (2019)

Trash

Director (and co-writer): Suzanna Etheridge

Cast: Ian Etheridge, Suzanne Etheridge, Heather Nice, Michael Russer, Braedan Alexander, Sherri Young

They thought the dump fires were behind them, but something has emerged from the flames. Actions have consequences in this dark fairy tale, reminding you to take care of your trash, before it takes care of you. – IMDB

Starting up a broadcast about the current news and trash and dump fire issues and the focus on missing dog flyers in the area followed by Moonlight Sonata playing, Trash is set in Iqaluit where trash isn’t being taken care by its community well and comes to life to start take action on its kids causing a lot of missing kids. Dark fairy tales are always a welcome sight (in my world). It always anchors itself on a greater issue of the society that calls out for a dark force (that might not be completely right in its execution) and uses its way to share a message. In this case, its about trash and the importance of its being treated and taken care of properly. The Creature here is actually done pretty nice and suitably in shredded garbage bags and such. The quick rundown of the situation is set by its voiceover and the conversations between its members of the community so see the situation. Its a bit disjointed in its execution but the message sent is well worth a watch.

What’s Within (2019)

What's Within

Director (and writer): Haad Bakshi

Cast: Risa Cohen, Kaija Kalev, Vijay Mehta, Ali Shmaisani, Connor Atkins

When everyday problems in a home are seen as routine, Jane, a 16 year old is locked in her room in need of help. Her parents Amelia, and Zach approach her problems as normal teenage behavior. – IMDB

What’s Within takes a clever twist in the dynamic of what is seen as a troublesome teenager daughter behavior and her parents when the expectations or routine of doing wrong causes her to be neglected when she is actually in danger. Call this something of a The Boy Cries Wolf sort of deal but at the same time giving it a lot of suspense to give children the benefit of the doubt. Its a fairly extreme situation presented here and yet its executed with a lot of tension as it lands as a edge of the seat thriller to see how Jane will get out of the situation. A lot of credit goes to how well Risa Cohen does playing Jane as her fear truly comes through. This 7 minute short packs in quite a unexpected experience full of suspense and thrills.

Willa (2019)

willa

Director (and co-writer): Corey Mayne

Cast: Kelsi Mayne, Adrian Jaworski, Bex Carney, Nick Szeman, Gar Reid, Madison Seguin

A classic, haunting ghost story based off of Stephen King’s original tale. – IMDB

Willa is a 15 minute short about a man David who insists on leaving the stalled train in the middle of nowhere to find his fiancee Willa. Stephen King stories are always such great source material to work with. While I’ve never read this short story, Willa is really  nice ghost story. Its about a couple and then about their discovery of the situation on hand. The flow of this short works very well as well as the play of the light and darkness in contrast with the setup of the situation. The little details and the twist in the story all come together. The cinematography of the smoke and how the camera pans over the different scenes adds a lot of depth. Its one well worth watching.

Spectre (2015)

An interruption in our normal scheduling of Netflix A-Z for another S selection but the one in the form of a newly released film in theatres called Spectre.  James Bond, 007, Daniel Craig, Action: Are you ready for it? I haven’t seen James Bond in theatres or anything else on opening day in forever, but with an overly enthusiastic friend, I did and also in the VIP cinema where we got to choose our seats and order food, plus, it cost me nothing because I managed to redeem it before the points system changed.  Perfect timing!

There’s been a ton of Spectre reviews and you’ve probably read a ton so I’m going to keep this short and sweet!

Spectre (2015)

Spectre

Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, , Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Andrew Scott, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci

A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. –IMDB

What did I like:

  • Opening

There’s a lot to like about the opening.  I mean, not just the opening in Dia de los Muertos in Mexico because that was really fun and exciting. Plus, it did set the tone for what to expect for the rest of Spectre. But I mean like the opening with the song.  I’m not going to lie. When I first listened to Sam Smith’s song Writings on the Wall, I wasn’t that impressed. I like Sam Smith but something was off.  I didn’t even watch the video of it, just the music.  However, with the opening sequence, with the familiar faces of the last few Craig Bond films floating up in the background, it was done really well.

  • C played by Andrew Scott *a little spoiler territory*

I’m a huge Sherlock fan. I mean, who isn’t if you’ve seen it.  If you are that rare person who isn’t, just bear with me.  Andrew Scott is a phenomenon actor.  He just has this villainous or awkward vibe that flows from his body.  You know what’s the deal with him.  You watch your fair share of James Bond (and I’ve seen 50% of the 24 Bond movies) and you kind of get a good idea. Regardless, this guy is perfectly cast.

  • Bond Girls: Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux

spectre

We all know Bond girls are part of the highlights of a Bond movie.  They are a staple of beauty that stands out in the film. Monica Bellucci is a sexy lady and Lea Seydoux is much younger but also isn’t just pretty but her character helps Bond out a lot.  She’s not the usual damsel in distress. That makes her one of my favorite Bond girls right now. Plus, Bond girls work with the chemistry they have and man, were there some passionate scenes going on there.

  • Cars & Action &  Gadgets

spectre

 

James Bond is a man with gadgets.  He’s got the moves and the skills but he also has the perfect escape plan. Aston Martin versus the Jaguar (I think).  Sexy time watching awesome cars race through the city. That was an awesome sequence that was a ton of fun.

  • Villain

spectre

I haven’t watched anything with Christoph Waltz. Only little snippets of Inglorious Basterds and screenshots of Django Unchained. Don’t even know why but this man, just from screenshots looks like a fantastic villain. You know, that whole calm and collected villain which definitely is smart and has something meticulous and crazy swirling around his mind to unhatch the perfect plan. We get the back story of this man and just who he is.  We get to know what is this secret terrorist organization called Spectre. Brutal, intricate and smart all at the same time.  Christoph Waltz brings on a whole new angle of a subtle bad guy. He is toying with his prey in the most deadly ways.

  • JAMES BOND = DANIEL CRAIG

spectre

The biggest factor of why I love Spectre is that this one truly made me fall in love with Daniel Craig.  Sad that its his last one, right? Daniel Craig oozes with exactly what James Bond is to me.  Forget about how I said Pierce Brosnan is the appearance of James Bond.  Daniel Craig is the whole package.  He’s got the looks, chemistry, smarts, actions, skills and the story to match all of it.  This guy is an amazing James Bond, at least to me.

What did I not like:

  • The run-time

I always complain about this in Bond movies.  It is a chore sometimes to watch James Bond because it always has some resolution half way and then pan out into a second scenario.  Its obligation to have 2+ hours of run time always makes me feel like its working so hard to drag it out. I was pretty tired when I went to see this and while I enjoyed 90% of the movie and stayed away for 99% of the movie.  There were moments I managed to really feel like sleeping.  It was a matter of seconds in the length of the movie but Bond films do hold a certain formula.  While the Craig ones try to stray away from it and add a lot more substance and deeper back story and dive a little into who Bond is on a more personal (and emotional) level, it still does do step into that territory once in a while.

Is it a huge criticism? Actually no, because Skyfall and Spectre both rank relatively high in the Bond movies. I’ve taken a few days since Friday night to work out which I like more. While Skyfall is like an adrenaline rush of emotions and I love it exactly for that.  Its serious and is through and through an action thriller that has lots to offer but Spectre is deeper.  We get more personal with James Bond and his love, mindset and just that ending… I love it!

 Have you seen Spectre? Are you planning to? Are you a James Bond fan?

TMI Podcast: The Random Chat Show All About the Best James Bond Villains

Bond 24, SPECTRE, hits theatres this week.  I went to go see it yesterday on opening night. My review will go up for it some time next week.  However, before we go there, this week’s podcast was all about our favorite James Bond villains.  We even dabble a little in the gadgets and girls world because you know, its all part of a James Bond movie.

Hope you enjoy!

A special mention to Opinion Battles hosted by Movie Reviews 101.