[FINAL GIRLS BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL] QUEER HORROR SHORTS BLOCK

Insha reviews the QUEER HORROR from Final Girls Berlin Film Festival.

SKIN
Directed & Written by: Audrey Rosenberg
Starring: Rhys Fehrenbacher, Summer Phoenix, Daniel Rashid, Malcolm Xavier, Jacob Nichols, Trinity Kieran, Jeanae Melisa, Anthony Candell

A queer teenager finds a chance to change their identity.

Skin is something wonderful. It’s hard to describe this film. I want to tell everyone what makes this film so unique. It’s a beautiful, gut-wrenching look at queer identity told in a coming-of-age drama. When you’re a teenager, it’s hard to figure yourself out, but imagine you don’t feel comfortable in your own body … or your Skin. Skin deals with that teenager’s chance and opportunity to change their identity and become themselves. However, Skin is also a family story, because this family has to approach them in the best way they know how. The family then allows them to talk, and they listen or be? It’s such a striking narrative that is vividly and heartbreakingly told.


TEA PARTIES ARE FOR BABIES! 
Directed & Written by: Teja Rose LoBreglio
Starring: Izzi Held, Lindsey Dresbach, Will Schlegel, Arian Rad, John Novotny

Emily sits in a park, looking at lovers in the distance. She looks over to see a beautiful girl named Bunny, sitting beside her on the bench. Bunny invites her to a nightclub where she falls deeper and deeper down a dangerous rabbit hole.

Tea Parties Are For Babies was one of the more unique and clever ways to adapt the story of Alice in Wonderland. A lot of adaptations fall flat, but Tea Parties Are For Babies doesn’t … until the ending. It’s an incredible short with mystery, mayhem, and intrigue with fantastic actors and a storyline I was invested in. Emily becoming seduced into the nightlife was a selling point for me, and I wanted a little more of that. That stuff felt as if it was a full-on fever dream/daydream-esque while the ending felt a bit flat to me. It was almost weirdly abrupt and changed tones super quickly, but still had that Alice in Wonderland-esque vibe and story that made it awesome.


LONE WOLF

Directed & Written by: January Jones
Starring: Freya Van Dyke-Goodman, Izabella Measham-Park, Mackenzie Mazur, Charlotte Cook

Sam is invited to a sleepover over a new friend’s house named Willow. As she started to learn about her new feelings for her friend, she also begins to wonder about the things happening to her body as well.

Lone Wolf was the cutest thing on the planet, and no one can tell me anything otherwise, while Skin was talking about gender identity in a relatable way. Lone Wolf tells the story about growing feelings and growing hair in all the wrong places in a lighthearted coming of age story that everyone should see multiple times. January Jones weaves a puberty werewolf narrative into the film that’s less horror, but more horrifying (and somewhat hilarious) for the girls involved. She does it so gracefully that you don’t notice the werewolf narrative at first UNTIL you see the nails. It’s brilliant, funny, and relatable.


BLOOD ORANGE

Directed by: Aliya Haq
Written by: Naomi Haden
Starring: Shara McGlinn, Susan Gordon, Revon Yousif, Maya Ru, Matt Griffin

Angela’s new job has made her so narcissistic to the point that she can’t seem to pay attention to anything but getting out of the town she’s in and ignores her best friend. When Angela finds out what her new job truly does, the disillusion shatters, but is it too late to go back to the way things are?

Oh man, let’s talk about how good Blood Orange is? Ready? Let’s go. Blood Orange takes you on so many different rides. You don’t imagine where you end up, but you’re happy you got there in one piece. Blood Orange does an incredibly complicated job of making a low-key vampire story and making that vampire story not only interesting but compelling. Aliya Haq (director) and Naomi Haden (writer) do that and then some. I was almost shocked by the way it ended.

I didn’t expect a vampire story, but when it happened, it made my jaw drop to see the illusion shatter like that. It straight-up knocked me out. The short brought another layer of what we know about narcissism and brings it to the forefront for all to see. Never take people you love for granted for bigger and better opportunities that will bite you in the ass … or the neck.


LABRYS

Directed by: BJ Colangelo
Written by: BJ Colangelo & Zach Shildwachter
Starring: Venchise Glenn, Madison Woods, Christopher Marinin, Allison Egan

A woman goes out on a first date and discovers that someone can like you for who … or what … you are.

When first watching this, it almost felt to me like this had some super cool The L Word vibes to it, especially with their first date and how that “ended.” However, when it went into superhero vibes, I was like “?!” At first, this short comes out as a straight-forward story about a woman trying her foot at dating in the only way she knows how. She’s adorable and shy, while her date is charming. It seems so perfect until a douchebag harasses them and then she gets … superpowers?! It’s a heavy dose of “what the hell is happening?” As much as I wanted to like it, it fell a little flat for me with such strong other narratives in the category. (Please don’t hate me. I’m so sorry.)


DESTRUCTION MAKES THE WORLD BURN BRIGHTER

Directed by: Kalen Artinian
Written by: Alexandria Benoit & Kalen Artinian
Starring: Alexandria Benoit, Keeya King

A secret couple gets desperate when rations for food get low.

If there was one short film that I wish I could have gotten more of or a full-length movie, it was Destruction Makes The World Burn Brighter. It already comes off with a strong narrative, and without words, it’s even more brilliant? You’re following the desperate actions of these two people who have a connection and want to keep everything alright. It was a love story mixed with an apocalypse and cannibal story as well. It was soft and sad, but it made me think about what I would do in that situation.