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Canadian Shorts After Dark – TADFF 2022

Canadian Shorts After Dark

Canadian Shorts After Dark – TADFF 2022

Synopsis:
CANADIAN SHORTS AFTER DARK is Toronto After Dark’s annual collection of outstanding Canadian Short Films. For 2022 we will be presenting 16 amazing short films in two different collections, the CANADIAN SHORTS SHOWCASE (Screening 8 of the very best shorts on Saturday, Oct 22, 3.30 pm) and our CANADIAN PRE-FEATURE SHORTS PROGRAM (Screening 10 additional brilliant shorts, one in front of each of the 10 Feature Films throughout the five nights of the entire Oct 19-23 festival).
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Here are our reviews of the Canadian Shorts After Dark selections.

The Flying Sailor

The title of this short says it all, a sailor goes flying after blowing up his ship, somehow losing all his clothes in the process. There's something strangely serene about this short.

4/5

Black Forest Sanitorium

A very weird stop-motion short with some allusions to Frankenstein. Fans of Bobby Morgan's Bobby Yeah or Phil Tippet's Mad God should find stuff to like in this short.

4/5

The Temple

An adaptation of the short story by H.P. Lovecraft involving a U-Boat encountering an underwater temple. The film features some decent animation, though I almost wanted there to be a more satisfying conclusion.

3.5/5

The Fore-Men

A science fiction story involving the invasion of futuristic men. This short is a bit of a mind-twister, as the protagonists experience what is described as time compression, resulting in them experiencing events out of order. Probably the biggest takeaway of this short is the quite well-designed look of the titular Fore-Men, and I wouldn't mind seeing this one expanded to a feature.

4/5

Nude

This short has the very simple yet effective premise of two people driving into the woods to have sex, only to find they are not alone. Gratuitous nudity aside, this short says a lot about body image issues and learning to accept yourself.

4/5

The Trunk

A girl opens a mysterious locked trunk, only to find something sinister within. This short has some quite effective supernatural scares.

4/5

In the Shadows

In this short, a trip to grandma's house turns sinister. While the ending is relatively effective, I did think that the set-up involving characters naively not noticing sinister characters in the background was a little hard to swallow.

3.5/5

The Community

From Winnipeg-based weirdo Milos Mitrovic comes what I believe is a post-apocalyptic tale of a group of guys, one of which played by Astron-6 alum , who is pining over what it was like to watch porn. A bit one note, but somewhat humorous.

3/5

Canadian Pre-Feature Shorts Program

The Cradle

A creepy little short about a woman in a black dress watching over a cradle. This short is more or less all about the final reveal but still generates a creepy atmosphere.

3.5/5

Cruise

A telemarketer has three chances to give away tickets to a cruise…or else. This is quite a funny short, with much of the humour from the deadpan hitman watching over the telemarketer.

4/5

Anything, Anything

Natalie navigates an abusive relationship while trying her best to convince her concerned friend that she is fine. I would best describe this short as a ghost story about anxiety, which fits the plot nicely.

3.5/5

The Ratcatcher's Daughter

The daughter of a ratcatcher in the 1920's Petrograd joins with a revolutionary to stop an invasion of mutant rats. This animated short is extremely well done and is reminiscent of the more mature animated films from the 1980s. I definitely would like this short expanded into a feature.

5/5

In the Dark

With a plot somewhat reminiscent of Light's Out, a woman discovers her date has an unhealthy fear of the dark. An allegory for how everyone has at least one flaw, this short builds to a satisfyingly gory conclusion and a message that one should not be picky when online dating.

4/5

Dissós

A man explores an abandoned house to find out what lead him there. As a CGI film created with Unreal Engine, sadly this short comes off more like a videogame demo than a film. However, it still has a coherent plot.

3/5

My Deep Dark Fears

This is more like multiple mini-shorts in one, as a man describes each of his fears, followed by the title-card flashing on the screen. The final fear is the best one.

3.5/5

Les Dents De La Maison (Paws)

A supernatural horror film starring director Austin Birtch's cat. This is somewhat well done for a DIY short shot during the omicron lockdown.

4/5

Diggin' A Hole

A man wants to know why a woman is digging a hole. While the plot of this short is predictable, the outcome is still quite satisfying.

4/5

Horse Brothers

Milos Mitrovic's second film in this year's Toronto After Dark line-up focuses on a horse, voiced by Guy Maddin, retelling the feud between two brothers. Let me just say that this short references The Godfather, Part II in weird and unexpected ways.

4/5
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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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