All Men Must Die!
Dir. Kate Beacom (USA)
“It’s refreshing if you don’t… look at it.”
All Men Must Die! tells the story of two friends who celebrate one of their birthdays. As they go out that night, they’re hassled by a “nice guy.” The ending results lead to death. All Men Must Die! was so clever. The friendship felt authentic which in turn makes the dialogue flow excellently. The mix of animation works great within the film as well. It cut up the beginning, middle, and end and played with the structure a bit to give cool frames of the film.
Even though the film was funny, the scenario presented was something that women have to go through daily. Getting hassled by the “nice guy” at the bar and cornered isn’t cute, and no one should find it so. Women don’t owe you shit my dude. The best part of this entire thing and a lesson to be learned from this, find yourself a friend who will literally beat them til their dead. That’s a friend for life.
Dir. Kimmy Gatewood (USA)
Control features a woman who gets ready to commit suicide, but not before she gets control over the situation and puts some things in order. Control was so subtly funny and smart in so many ways. It was such a slow build-up that continued to have these little moments of her trying to control every damn thing in her site. Control starred and written by Alison Becker, who many will remember as Shauna Malwae-Tweep from Parks and Recreation.
There’s no dialogue in this, but the actions speak louder than words. The direction brilliant. I’m also a sucker for a character in a confined space. They usually lead the actor to do some things that can’t be done running around in twenty different spaces. Control portrays and accomplishes a brilliant character study from start to finish. The story of a woman who controls every aspect of her life, even her death.
Dir. Eileen O’Meara (USA)
“They eat our brains and make us crazy.”
Panic Attack is an animation about a woman driving to work. At a stoplight, the thoughts inside her head won’t turn off. This was so goddamn relatable, and it gained points right off the bat for that. I LOVE the fluid animation. It drifted in and out with such grace and made you feel like you were watching a ballet of thoughts.
I used to work at an avant-garde film distributor, and this is the kind of stuff I’d BEG to have in the collection. It’s not only funny, but again, the story was so relatable and funny, even the last moments make you giggle. Panic Attack has some gnarly and rich sound mixing that was so fucking incredible. All the thoughts swirling together and making you feel like you’re mad fuck you up something fierce.
Dir. Mary Neely (USA)
“Shit, I forgot I’m out of my anti-depressant. I have to go to CVS right now.”
Pink Trailer features two girls, Lucy and Julie, spend most of the summer terrified of their next-door neighbor. When Lucy runs out of her anti-depressants, they’re forced to “fight for their lives.” The aesthetic of Pink Trailer is to die for, and I’m not a pink type of person at all. The acting was spectacular, which made it feel like such an off the wall beginning of a teenage comedy or coming of age story instead of a horror movie.
Dir. Scarlett Anderson (UK)
“I love you.”
Polyfilia tells the story of a teenage girl who becomes enamored with a plastic bag. The short film was WAY too cute for its own good. In the day and age of being attracted to just about anything, a teenage girl being attracted to a plastic bag isn’t even that weird. It shows teenage sexuality and attraction of just being as odd as its always been. The ending of the short provides a subtle yet hilarious twist that no one would see coming, but it’s so quirky and wonderfully jarring that you’re like “That’s absolutely okay by me.”
Dir. Silvia Conesa (Spain)
Evströnger is a short and simple horror story by way of IKEA instructions. A couple fixing IKEA furniture find directions that they must follow instructions on how to kill each other. This short was, again, simple and short, but was hilarious and pretty-straight forward in its execution. It reminded me of if Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör was a proper adaptation. Also, can that please happen?
The Only Thing I Love More Than You Is Ranch Dressing
Dir. Sydney Clara Brafman (USA)
Another short and sweet horror film that leaves you kind of hungry. I’m not even saying this as a pun. I was really hungry after watching this. The Only Thing I Love More Than You Is Ranch Dressing features a man and a woman eating chicken wings on their date. However, things start to take a dark turn when she takes a bite out of him. I just all-around enjoyed this short because it was very on point and hilarious. It didn’t pull any dime and whistles or set out to do anything extra. Chicken wings are eaten. Fingers are eaten. Our girl continues her meal as usual.
Dirs. Celine Held & Logan George
“I did it!” “Did what?” “I swallowed it!”
Mouse tells the story of a couple who find a mouse in their cans of beans and try to capitalize on the opportunity. Mouse is some great stuff. It’s the type of stuff that I always strive to see within horror. The couple in this short film have such wicked chemistry between them and act off each other in a way that amps this entire thing up to ten. The one thing that immediately attracted me to this is that it was in a confined space. Confined spaces really show how strong the acting, the script, and the cinematography can be within that space. Mouse does a phenomenal job of displaying all three without overwhelming the viewers and keeping the energy alive all the way till the very end.
A REAL SCREAM short film program was one of several featured programs shown at the fourth Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, which ran from January 31, 2019, to February 3. The festival exists to showcase horror cinema created by women. Check out the full program for the festival here.