BITS’ Funny Frights shorts program reminds viewers of the old adage that comedy and horror have the same beats. Despite the varying quality here I do have to say something. This is the most diverse group when it comes to age and other demographics, which is something I applaud.
Some foods taste gross. Jack Penney’s Eat Your Carrots shows a nine year old telling their baby sibling why they should eat the yucky titular vegetable. This is a mix of Lego animation and a Canadian version of a Benny Hill sketch, but it’s the start of something.
A robot, two baristas, and a yeti are in the center of Frostbitten, a project from the Kaw Tay Wee School Students. The animation is jankier here but there’s potential.
There’s not a lot going on in The Seance, the first short film from the Canadian horror trio who call themselves Drunk in a Graveyard. Credit is due to a realistic ghost, but adults make up the Drunk trio so I can write that they could made something meatier.
An Imposter from Tyler A. Williams shows what happens when a hipster dad sees when he looks out his window while sipping his morning coffee. This short reminds us that winter can be crisp instead of just white. And it takes advantage of its short running time to dress the actors up to subtly convey characters with a twist.
Zane Rubin’s Creat(e)ure is about the conundrum genre films face when it reveals its twists. It uses effective production values to comment on the disconnect that occurs when fictional characters face their fictional monsters.
A man’s (Justin McConnell) life changes when he discovers that he’s sharing quarantine time with a ghost who might have been a chef when she was alive. That’s the basic premise of Justin McConnell’s Soul Contact, a simple horror comedy commenting on the tenuous nature of friendships.
There’s good character design in Marco Baldonado’s Toto. It’s aware that different characters have their conflicting motivations. And that becomes more complex in a future where every family and their grandma (Rosa Forlano) has a household robot.
A woman tries and fails to sell her panties online in Caitlyn Spoonheimer’s Kitty’s Naughty Knickers. Some of the shots here are in the titular character’s (Spoonheimer) perspective. It shows her like Robocop finding ways to make money to get her law degree. Yes, some people in her (my) generation are like robotic vultures looking for things to monetize because we have to.
Jaren (Nancy Webb), a Wiccan, helps out her fellow art history major, Kelly (Danielle Lepointe), who got a magical locket from a bro. The locket strangles Kelly if she doesn’t text the bro back. That’s what Kaye Adelaide and Mariel Sharp’s Don’t Text Back is about, which, first of all, Libras are the best air signs. Adelaide and Sharp also show off their cutting screenwriting skills here which translate for more, if not longer work.
A few things might seem normal in Chris Ross’ The Problem with Lady Werewolves but the protagonists (Jacqueline Ambrosia and Reid Asselstine) hear and see weird things. There’s a confluence here both of great sound design and how the short frames its senses. It makes everything we see and hear as amplified, just the way the protagonists here perceive them.
Brandon Jordan tries to bring us The Greatest Horror Film Ever Made. Here, a screenwriter serves as a narrator brainstorming ideas for the titular horror film. Lots of fading to black as a ghost kills four millennials. This aims to be a meta-short but it seems to takes advantage of its young cast. The cast looked like who starved themselves and didn’t drink water for a day for something that falls flat.
A bunch of Western-era gamblers are central to the last short here which is Spencer Estabrooks’ The Ballad of Sharkasaurus. This is purposefully silly which isn’t enough. But again, thankfully, this program, like the last one, has good shorts in its middle section.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, fantasy, Horror, Short
- Release Date: 11/2/2020
- Directed by: Chris Ross, Kaye Adelaide, Marco Baldonado, Mariel Sharp
- Starring: Caitlyn Spoonheimer, Justin McConnell, Nancy Webb, Reid Asselstine, Rosa Forlano
- Produced by: Caitlyn Sponheimer, Chris Ross, David J. Phillips, Jeremiah Lapointe
- Written by: Caitlyn Sponheimer, Chris Ross, Justin McConnell, Walter Woodman
- Studio: 20th Digital Studio, CouKuma Productions