Little Terrors 8 – Hidden Worlds, March 6th 2012, at the Projection Booth in Toronto
Hosted and Curated by Justin McConnell
I promised a while back I would be talking about this series that Justin McConnell hosts (in the Goon review) and here I am finally following up and keeping my word. Little Terrors is a monthly collection of Genre based short films from around the world put together in a themed event by Justin. This month’s entries rallied around the concept of “Hidden Worlds” and all the things that may entail.
Good Morning, Beautiful
Starring David Tufford and Catherine Campion
Written and Directed by Todd Cobery
Good Morning, Beautiful centers around a couple (Tufford and Campion) who has just lost their newborn baby. The events of the loss are told through a masterful opening credits montage that reminds me of the emotional heft of Pixar’s Up “Death of Ellie” sequence. But things take a much darker turn as the grief and lack of sleep suffered by Dave is taking him further into a delusional state where reality starts to blur. Strong performances from the leads carry this story with solid direction from Mr. Cobery. A festival fave, this is one to look out for.
Crabs in the Dollhouse
Narrated by Annika Schlesinger
Written and Directed by Carrie Juenger
Next up is the most surreal and avant-garde piece of the evening. Is it an allegory for murder/suicide? A take on Cannibalism? Random crabs dumped in blood puddles for no apparent reason? Whatever it may be, it was the most discussed and debated movie of the evening and had many more questions than answers at the end. So, in those regards it’s a complete success, but it leaves me completely incapable of summarizing it for you here. You’ll need to see it for yourself to decide.
Starring Raizelle Aspilla
Written by Adam Kenneth Wilson
Directed by Raha Shirazi
After that we get Within, a short film entirely based on mood and atmosphere. The audience is seeing the context from a lady who is apparently been in a struggle, as we see evidence on this all around, and we follow her until we are interrupted by something unexpected which reveals the entire scene to be more than what it seems. While I can admire and appreciate the style and craftsmanship that went in to this, unfortunately the “payoff” does not work for me in the context of the short. However, it does have excellent technical work, and a very captivating lead performance.
Starring Ian Batt and Sarah Mitich
Written and Directed by Colin Berry
What can I say about Prick. It won me over with its visual flair and technical wizardry when I saw it back at TAD in October and was really looking forward to seeing it again. It’s a day in the life of a very disturbed man, a serial killer by trade. When something enters his world that has meaning, we see how it changes his perceptions and motivations to protect it. Excellent lead performance from Batt in this and a repeat viewing does nothing to diminish the film’s impact. Highly recommended and I will be keeping tabs on what Mr. Berry may be up to in the future, and Mr. Batt as well.
Starring Saskia Burmeister and Henry Nixon
Written and Directed by Matt Bird
After a short intermission, in which Crabs in a Dollhouse was a major topic of discussion, we resumed the program with Aussie import Cold Sore. Jenna (Burmeister) sits alone in a club, apparently stood up on a date. Guy (Nixon) see this and moves in to strike a conversation, also claiming to have been stood up. The two hit it off. As the end of the night draws near, Jenna invites Guy over to her place, he unfortunately has to decline, but takes a rain check. The next morning Jenna notices a cold sore on her lip has formed. What type of person is Guy? What type of person is Jenna for that matter? Solid script and acting highlight another Festival Fave on the bill. Interesting twist on the one night stand scenario doesn’t really surprise or break new ground, but it is an effective entry.
Starring Casey Clark and Marla Johansson
Written and Directed by Adam Mason
From back in 2003 we get our next short, Prey. Spun off from true events, we get a creepy firsthand account from John ‘Bub’ Morris as he stalks his prey, all told through narration, and his prey happens to be women. We see and hear his thoughts through stills and moving pictures as he stalks and kills one of his recent prey. An effective film that shows the potential Mason would see come to fruition years later in his highly underrated feature film, Devil’s Chair.
Based on the horrific true life exploits of Alaska’s most notorious serial killer Robert Hanson.
Starring Jeff Sinasac
Written and Directed by Krzysztof Pospieszynski
Our second to last short featured our cast attendee of the evening as Jeff Sinasac was on hand to provide some feedback and answer a question or two after the screening. Both funny and disturbing and the same time, Skhiz is the only “living” member of a Zombie infested world who has grown so lonely and deluded that he uses former townsfolk, now zombified, to reenact daily conversations and activities. Eventually the townsfolk literally “start talking” as we see them through Skhiz’s perceptions. Ultra low budget production gets point for creativity and an effective lead performance.
Starring Roxanne Tirkov, Mads Althoff and Jonas Bjorn-Andersen
Written and Directed by Casper Haugegaard
Clocking in at 50 minutes, Opstandelsen (Resurrected) is somewhere between feature and short. It closes off our evening with a tale of zombie apocalypse set in the underbelly of a Danish church. Three siblings are trapped in the basement of said church after zombies crash the funeral of their other sibling, Simon. Ruth (Tirkov), Peter (Althoff), and Johannes (Bjorn-Anderson) must find a way out of the labyrinth like surroundings in hopes of escaping from the zombie horde, which now includes their own family, all while finding a way to get over their own squabbling and fighting. The tension in Opstandelsen doesn’t let up, and at 50 minutes it has very little “padding” in the script, just action. The leads do an amiable job, managing to keep you engaged throughout. The setting is inspired, even though the “basement” is completely out of proportion with the rest of the building, seemingly going on forever in parts. Some interesting character choices and a bleak ending solidify the film and make it all the more satisfying in the end. Opstandelsen manages to elevate itself from a lot of the zombie crowd, which is filled with so much crap, and produce an effective thrill ride.
So that’s a wrap on Little Terrors 8 – Hidden Worlds. Justin McConnell has done another excellent job in finding and curating some of the most interesting short films around. I would urge any aspiring filmmakers and just fans of film to get out to the next Little Terrors in April. It’s always a fun night and you get to see what else is out there from the rest of the world genre-wise. Follow Little Terrors on Facebook to keep up to date with the next lineup and screening date announcements.
Til Next Time
Movie Junkie TO aka Kirk Haviland