Director: R.J. Wilson
“Whatever you do… don’t open the door.”
The world is a scary place, and it could be knocking on your door waiting to come in. Dead Air is a 60-second horror film that feels like the start of a Twilight Zone episode. Dead Air leaves you with a series of questions. What’s behind the door? How was the woman talking to him? Did he end up having that date that night? Dead Air might be short but has incredible direction that leaves your mind racing.
Director: Andrea Wolanin
From Within features a woman who relives memories after she encounters a nightmare creature. From Within dealt with trauma in a very interesting way. The supernatural creature that this woman comes in contact with shows her pain on display for all to see, but then moves her in a way that she can seek revenge and help herself. It gives her back the power instead of letting someone else take it away. However, this is only what I took from it. From Within feels as if it could be a film that will be interpreted in many different ways by many different people.
The one thing that made me sit up and take notice was the supernatural creature in general. I wanted to know more about this creature who sends you genuinely down the horrific memory lane. The way that she moved and those arms stretched open were almost majestic in itself. I’d pay for a movie with all of her in it.
LET’S BE FRIENDS
Director: Ryan Glista
“Let’s Be Friends!”
Woo-boy there is a lot to unpack here. Let’s Be Friends features a boy named Connor, who is sent off to a new school. His only friend is a stuffed toy named Beanie who cares about him dearly. As Connor’s first day of school starts off, his father warns him not to take the doll to school, but he does anyway. He is confronted by bullies. After that, all hell breaks loose. Connor has to decide to leave his childhood behind him once and for all.
This short is heartbreaking. The story dives into masculinity in a way that’s interesting and tears your heart in two. The actor who played Connor sold this entire short for me because of how sensitive and lonely he made Connor. I almost half hoped that this tale would be a happy ending, but Connor already had a lot of factors against him from the jump. He’s in a world that’s new and Beanie was a comfort to Connor that turned deadly. That’s a solid mix of chaos that leaves this story truly tragic and a bit traumatic.
Director: Dan Wilder
“Find us in the shadow of Mercury.”
In this episode of Mercury Screams, we center around a couple who’s trying to get their relationship back on track after the loss of their baby. However, some weird circumstances arise that really don’t help matters much in that department. Mercury Screams immediately reminded me of Dark Shadows meets shows like Beyond Belief or Mostly True Stories. It’s told in a story format of “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes!” mixed with that overacting-meets-supernatural shit that you can’t help but love. From this short film, if there was a Mercury Screams show, you better believe I would have that shit on repeat and watch every episode 20 times.
Director: Mariah Klapatch
“Chant the words. Ring the bell. Work the magic. Weave the spell.”
Three witches live together but are estranged from each other. They’re connected in many ways, but the occult is what connects them the most. Ultra Witchy is VERY MUCH my aesthetic. The production design was a dream and had a neon-rural, witch-type vibe that is utterly gorgeous. One of my favorite things about this short is the family side of things. We meet with the oldest witch, her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter.
The women are very strained from each other. Yet there is a sense of wanting to belong and wanting to participate and join into the rituals, especially when it comes to the youngest in the home. Even though Ultra Witchy was SUPER extra, the rituals and familial storytelling really hit something in me that made me love it.
Director: Sarah Wisner & Sean Temple
“I wanna go back, mommy.”
A small family’s life is disturbed once they come upon a presence from the water. If you gave me a full movie of Water Horse, I’d run towards it. This short film could easily be longer because it had so much going on inside of it within the seven minutes. This story carries many layers. For example, the family, where the water horse came from, the home invasion, and the hallucinations. It’s such a solid short horror film with solid acting, a beautiful location and a heart-wrenching finish that leaves you gasping.
The 21st annual Boston Underground Film Festival ran from March 20th to March 24th. To find out more about the festival and to be sure you get your tickets for next year, check out their website.