Here are my thoughts on the films to play as part of this year’s Toronto After Dark international shorts showcase.
Your Date Is Here
A mother and daughter play a dating board game to monstrous results. Your Date Is Here is a quite cute and well-executed short film that builds up to an expected, yet still pretty surprising, final scare.
A man enters an exclusive restaurant with a very unique menu. It doesn’t take a genius to guess the places Bon Appetit is going and the results are appropriately disgusting. However, the film does have an added little twist towards the end, which makes things more interesting.
Phone sex operator Stephanie receives a threatening call from a stalker, who want her to really do the things she talks about doing. Through its relatively simple premise, Withheld says a lot about the ways men tend to objectify women as sex objects. The film features a very clever twist on that premise, which will likely leave feminists applauding.
Following a shooting star, the Global Seed Vault gets an unexpected visitor. In a somewhat roundabout way, Voyager is about what would happen if alien life answered the message aboard to Voyager shuttle. However, that premise just seems to be a jumping off point for a weird little sci-fi story that didn’t really need the Voyager connection.
A group of men come into a woman’s house looking for her father. The Plague is a film that is only really truly about the final shot. Until then, the viewer is left to playing a guessing game about what is happening (and what exactly the plague of the title is).
A woman helps her wood-worker father prepare to sell his house, since he believes something else is living there. Creswick is a quite well executed horror short, which builds up to a final surprise. Apparently this one is being developed into a feature, which I’ll be interested in seeing.
An aspiring TV chef is preparing for a very important dinner party, which is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious woman. Taste is a pretty quirky dark comedy featuring preppy characters and perhaps a little dark magic. Definitely interesting to say the least.
Say Nothing Patrick Egan
A prom night love triangle ends in horror. If anything, Say Nothing Patrick Egan has an appropriate title, since this quite short and dark film is told without a single word of dialogue. Nothing all that much to this one.
A angry lesbian woman with a bad hair day desperately tries to find a barbershop that is not affected by the rapture. Buzzcut has a very simple premise of the protagonist finding a barber, so she could “get laid before she dies.” The film is filled many gory montages and heavy metal music and is definitely one of the more unique shorts in this line-up.
During a sacrificial ritual, a woman begins a relationship with a demon. This darkly humorous short is kind of on the messed up side. Ultimately, the lesson is not to ask a demon for a commitment.
This is a documentary short that preceded Cult of Chucky, directed by Kyra Elise Gardner, daughter of the series’ special effects artist Tony Gardner. Essentially this film looks into the familial connection of the Chucky series, since both Kyra Gardner and Cult of Chucky star Fiona Dourif grew up around these films and had an upbringing that included things such as Halloween Trees. Overall, The Dollhouse is a quite interesting short documentary.