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Canadian Shorts After Dark – Toronto After Dark 2023

Canadian Shorts After Dark

Here are our capsule reviews of the Canadian Shorts After Dark line-up.

Canadian Shorts Dark Showcase

Night Drives Campfire

Night Drives: Campfire in the Sky

Co-workers gossip about their latest camping trip, and one gets decidedly weird. Created with rotoscoped animation, this short, which is part of a more extensive series, is all about the matter-of-fact way a horrible camping incident is described, much to the horror of his co-workers.

4/5
Thriving

Thriving: A Dissociated Reverie

A surrealist exploration of Kitoko Mai's experiences having disassociative identity disorder and their relationship with their alters. One of the goals of this short, which also happens during a zombie apocalypse, is to try and dispel some of the myths about DID perpetrated by everything from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to the film Split

4/5
DemonBox

Demon Box

A semi-autobiographical magic-realism film about the stories told by director Sean Wainsteim's grandfather about the Holocaust. Demon Box is a re-edit of Wainsteim's originally intended short film, now with contextual commentary about what his goals for this film were. The result is a film that probably does more handholding than needed.

3.5/5
Colin Carveys Long Halloween

Colin Carvey's Long Halloween

After getting his costume glued to him by local toughs, a trick-or-treater goes on an unintentional killing spree. Presented as a tongue-in-cheek silent film, Colin Carney's Long Halloween is an incredibly entertaining film showing how, on Halloween, even good boys get to be bad.

4.5/5
YMNGH

Your Money's No Good Here

Best Canadian Short Film

After a friend picks up the bill, a man goes on a downward spiral after misinterpreting the phrase, “Your money's no good here.” This short goes to come extreme lengths to demonstrate the fragile nature of the male ego.

4/5
Ghosts Do Not Exit

Ghosts Do Not Exist

With his funding about to be withdrawn, a paranormal investor makes one last attempt to prove his theory. Centred around the “Bloody Mary” urban legend, this short is all about its chilling final shot.

3.5/5
Blood Line jpeg

Blood Line

A woman takes care of her sickly father, who happens to be a vampire. This short is more drama than horror, with the tragic feeling of the story being reminiscent somewhat of Guillermo del Toro's Cronos.

4/5
bird hostage

Bird Hostage

Best Canadian Short Film

A housesitter attempts to help free a parrot named Reggie (voiced by ). Bird Hostage is quite a joy to watch, thanks in no small part to Jay Baruchel's voice acting for a very raggedy-looking parrot puppet.

4/5
Forgotten Lake

Forgotten Lake

Camp counsellors tell the legend of The Blueberry Boy, which turns out to be more real than they think. Written and directed by ASTRON-6 alumni and (The Editor), this slasher film short turns out to be a very extravagant promo for the Lake of the Woods Brewing Company's Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale. In other words, this short is a very unique way to sell craft beer.

4/5

Canadian Shorts After Dark - Pre-Feature Shorts

Soul Proprietor

Soul Proprietor

A priest uses a young woman's soul as bait to attract multiple demons. A stylized short featuring a potty-mouthed priest, Soul Proprietor has some great possession effects and a very interesting twist.

4/5
mystery box

Mystery Box

A man orders a mystery box off the dark web and is shocked by what he receives. This is a relatively simple short playing with paranoia about the dark web and who may be watching. Then there's a humourous punchline.

3.5/5
rec voltron

Rec Voltron

Alien Hunter, Rec Voltron is called to Earth to stop an alien attack. This is a very comedic sci-fi short with a very ironic twist.

4/5
XTEMPLAR

XTemplar

A lone warrior fights back against soul-eater aliens. This is a very slick short featuring video game-like CGI graphics. It is obvious that this short is meant as a proof of concept, as it ends without any proper resolution.

3.5/5
star666

*666

A phone call resulting from a seance has unintended consequences. Stylized as a silent film, *666 has some purposely crude-looking effects and a punchline about the consequences of making crank calls.

3/5
Camp

Camp

A group of campers have a seance one night trying to communicate with the dead. With a very brief running time, Camp is all about its dark and ironic twist.

3.5/5
black paris

Black Paris

A soldier fights the darkness at all costs. This short is notable for being shot on digital sets using Volume Wall technology. This results in an appropriately atmospheric film, though the use of an anachronistic Airpod prop does spoil the illusion a bit.

3.5/5
PoolParty

Pool Party

Freya stands up to the girl bullying her at a birthday party. Pool Party is structured to make it seem like Freya is being bullied for being a closeted homosexual. However, it turns out her secret is somewhat more sinister, resulting in a satisfying moment of vengeance.

4/5
bye bye

Bye-Bye

Karla (Mariam Barry) and Hannah (Julia Sarah Stone) have a paranormal experience on the subway. Based on real urban legends, this is a brief horror short all about its final jump scare.

4/5
Gamemanship

Gamesmanship

Best Canadian Short Film

A game of charades at a Christmas party goes horribly wrong. Gamesmanship is the very definition of dark comedy, as it quickly gets gory and violent in some very hilarious ways.

4.5/5
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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.