BITS is showing 88 minutes worth of genre shorts and just like the first showcase, it has a Canadian focus. There’s a nostalgic air to them. Despite that connective tissue only one or two of them are good.
Helen Kriemadis’ The Girl in the Black Dress has a home invader. As home invaders go, he looks like he has bad intentions with a woman who looks like she’s going to a vintage party. I’m not a fan of its neon aesthetic.
David J. Fernandes’s Binge has different problems. It tells the story of a young woman doing a strange treasure hunt requiring her to be alone most of the time. This needed another character that she can play off of because the actress in can’t seem to sustain those silent moments and make her thought process come across on screen.
Gwen Trutnau’s Hot Anger is slightly better. The plot is up to interpretation here. My take is that this is about a woman running from an alien abduction. There’s potential of a metal aesthetic common in genre festival fare. I prefer its lo-fi moments over its digital ones, which reveal artifice instead of polish.
The same digital sheen is in Tim Lopers’ In Death Unparted. The acting gets slightly better too as it goes on. It reveals its premise of a woman discovering that her equally young lover isn’t actually dead. Thing is, he comes back as a vampire, having the best of both worlds if it wasn’t for this pesky stalker of a girl who won’t leave him be.
Death also factors into Daumoun Khakpour’s Standby but it shows how borders play into that as well. Guilt haunts a Mexican (Carlos Felipe Martinez) immigrating into Canada. Martinez overdoes things, but then again it’s hard to sympathize for a character who smuggled his wife into a bad instead of paying for an extra ticket for her. Real Mexican immigrants would never.
The actress in Brian Wilcox’s House Among the Trees is better specifically at monologues. She tells a poor homely caretaker about a story of sheep devouring its shepherd. Too bad its digital look under-saturates her and the fictional world she inhabits.
Joslyn Rogers’ The Chicken Man has the opposite problem in over saturating the world where a suicidal old smoker lives. What makes this short equally nonsensical is that young man is narrating as the old man, addressing a letter to his daughter who has also passed.
Robert DeLeskie’s Lay Them Straight has a living young girl in it. Parker (Charlotte Lindsay Marron) tries to control her obsession with counting. It centers on a rainy afternoon when she does stop counting and bad things happen. Marron is as good as this short, the program’s highlight, and I’d tell you who she looks like but it’s a bit spoiler-y.
Jennifer Nicole Stang’s The Whistler basically incorporates The Pied Piper in the story of a teenage girl. Lindsey (Karis Cameron) has to babysit her sister Becky for the night. She falls asleep after watching a horror film on TV and wakes up after 10 but it looks more like 8. Fast editing during the dream sequences saves this short film.
Lastly, there’s Jordan Barnes Crouse’s Time Heals No Wounds. Inventor Dr. Barry Slater (Gabriel Carter) finally discovered time travel and has to use it to save his wife who isn’t dead yet. There’s cheap steampunk here as well as actors doing college level Gilded Age delivery to try to take us back to the 1950s. This is a goofy and fun.
- Genre: Drama, Horror, Short, Short films
- Release Date: 11/25/2018
- Directed by: Brian Wilcox, Daumoun Khakpour, David J. Fernandes, Gwen Trutnau, Helen Kriemadis, Jennifer Nicole Stang, Jordan Barnes Crouse, Joslyn Rogers, Robert DeLeskie, Tim Lopers
- Starring: Carlos Felipe Martinez, Charlotte Lindsay Marron, Gabriel Carter, Karis Cameron
- Produced by: Christina Jennings, Karen Wong
- Written by: Jennifer Nicole Stang, John Sobey, Robert DeLeskie, Travis Pulchinski
- Studio: Round Table Pictures, Shaftesbury Films