The international short short selection at Toronto After Dark this year included non-moving threats, gross-out body horror, and itching wolves. In addition to the ten shorts that played as part as the Shorts After Dark showcase, there was also another international short this year that preceded one of the features. As such, here is a rundown of all eleven international short films.
A woman is trapped on a curved surface and tries with all her might to work her way up without slipping into the abyss below. Curve is a great example of visual storytelling, as it portrays this woman’s struggles to prevent herself from falling. While a relatively simple short, Curve has some effective tension and is quite well done.
Dawn of the Deaf
When a killer pulse results in a zombie apocalypse, only the hearing impaired are left unaffected. While Dawn of the Deaf sports an interest concept, the events of this short film are left unresolved, which left me wondering if this was merely a set-up for a larger project down the road.
After helping a dying dog, a man is given one wish. Limbo is a fantastical short about a man at the crossroads, regretting the events of the last few days. Then of course, there is Sam Elliot voicing the supernatural dog.
Two women have an argument, which results in a psychological breakdown. While Bark is a well produced film, I didn’t fully get what it was trying to say.
A French detectives wife resurfaces after being missing for years. The Call is indeed a very French short film, which includes a bit of a body horror element. Overall, this is a well produced film.
Anna (Lindsay Bennett) is plagued by a masked, statuesque figure that never moves. British filmmaker Oliver Park follows up last year’s Vicious with this excellent short film that combines horror and humour. With me greatly enjoying both of his short films, I really want this guy to make a feature.
When Susurrus Stirs
A man in infected by a parasite, which results in a horrible transformation. When Susurrus Stirs is an incredibly disgusting body horror short film, which actually made me a bit sick to the stomach. While I am sure the film had the effect on me as intended my the filmmaker, I cannot with a sound mind recommend this film, unless of course you are a fan of the films of Frank Henenlotter, which this film apparently takes inspiration from.
Vitamins for Life
Learn about the lesser known vitamins. There is little to say about this short, other than the fact that it is good for a chuckle.
The adventures of soccer moms Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) as they watch their kid’s soccer games. Greener Grass is an incredibly weird short film, filled with odd moments such a giving away babies, sons turning into dogs, and getting pregnant with soccer balls. I frankly did not really get what this film was trying to say, other than feature a whole bunch of non-sequiturs.
The wolf’s anxieties resorts in a horrible itch, which is cared for by a friendly rabbit. The Itching is a cute little claymation short about a wolf with a horrible Itch. Told entirely through the visuals, The Itching is a quite solid little film.
Shutter (Pre-Film Short)
A man receives some mysterious pre-cognitive photos from his print. Shutter is a creepy little short film about a man searching for a source of these mysterious photos. While the final reveal is a bit laughable, this is still a well done short.