BITS 2020: Our Review of ‘Dark Visions’

Posted in BITS 2020, What's Streaming? by - October 30, 2020

Programmers’ jobs are difficult, having to find the best films, feature length or short ones, to put into their festivals for viewers to watch. That’s especially true with horror programmers who, every year, put films to the mercy of bloggers like me. Does Dark Visions live up to its promise of bringing the creepiest shorts around? Let’s find out.

A visitor in, um, Keith Robertson’s The Visitor knocks on a woman’s door. This is one of the few cases where simplicity doesn’t cut it.

Louisa Phung’s Day Break is a better version of the horror trope where a woman feels a menacing presence in her own home.

In Robert Cuffley’s Mama’s Home, a young girl (Florence Hildegard) finds its strange that her mother is back early from picking her sister up, and her sister isn’t there. Good premise that it bungles with that flat final scare.

Convenience can sometimes lead characters to their peril. Viewers can see this in Mayumi Yoshida’s Trim, where Kate (Sara Vicruck) falls asleep while a man does her roots. Dozing off leads her to something so shocking that there’s no choice but for you to see it.

A boy gets a reprieve when a girl intercedes between him and a bully in Ashley Wessel’s Weirdo. The is goes from nothing to grim in the last two of its eight minutes. The transition isn’t sudden but I would rather have wanted to experience something consistent.

Although sometimes, shock endings can work. The titular character in Andrew Jeffrey’s Misha (Daiva Johnson) gets a visit from a fictional version of the Public Health Agency because of her sick daughter. A lot is going on here, but its best asset is its non threatening characters. That quality is enough to make this a favorite and one that, despite its succinctness, can work as a web series.

If your eyes see something weird, maybe it’s best to leave it be. That’s the lesson in many horror shorts including Kerim Banka’s Morbus. A couple sees something in the woods and decide that it’s a good idea to follow it. This is one of the shorts that spark a debate on what would you do in you’re in the same situation in a good way. The make-up, CG or practical, looks good aesthetically. My favorite of the program.

Keith Robertson’s second submission is Unborn, showing a woman who notices that her baby doll is coming to life. Effectively creepy throughout its eight minute run.

What happens when a woman invites her friends to be her godparents? That’s basically the story in Ryan Couldrey’s Expecting, which signals there’s something wrong with the expecting mother. We all have that weird friend, and sometimes that weird friend is me. This short proves that the most interesting film monsters are human.

A young man heard a child laughing in his house in Matthew van Ginkel’s From The Dark. This is a creepy pasta’s bland adaptation.

Bland is also what I would say about Joanna Tsanis’ Mourn but I let it play longer and it became good. Here, a young man walks into a grief counselor’s office pretending to be her husband. This nonsensical claim is surprisingly what I look for in a thriller short like this.

We sometimes hit the road for refuge. That’s what the protagonist in Jame Knox and Chris Whelan’s Fade does as she smokes on the deck of her lakeside cabin. She’s running away from someone, and the short makes it worth discovering whether she escapes or not.

A woman finds herself driving near farm fields in Julie Roy’s Sang Jaune. Roy doesn’t use a lot of the same techniques that genre directors do, relying on her actress to make her sci-fi premise effectively visceral.

Lastly, there are many characters in Alex Lee Williams and Jay Drakulic’s Escape The Night, too many in fact. This short ends the program on a bad note but at least many of the shorts before it made me feel a few things.

  • Release Date: 11/1/2020
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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