Shorts After Dark – Toronto After Dark 2014


Invaders In addition to the pre-feature Canadian shorts, Toronto After Dark also screens a showcase of nine short films from around the globe.  This year’s line-up include home invaders in pilgrim masks, a sci-fi film about selling doorknobs, and romance about a man who removes his skin.  Here is my rundown of the Shorts After Dark line-up. Invaders
On Thanksgiving, two men plan a home invasion that goes horribly wrong.  Featuring ridiculous pilgrim masks and a bloody extended sight gag, Invaders was a quite brief, yet very enjoyable and humorous little horror-comedy.
 9 | REALLY LIKED IT Everything & Everything & Everything
Starring Shane Carruth (Primer), a mysterious blue pyramid creates doorknobs, which a man turns into a successful business.  Despite its quite odd sci-fi premise, Everything & Everything & Everything ends up being a very interesting satire of corporations, as the film documents the rise and fall of this doorknob business.
8 | LIKED IT Sword Fight
A man goes to a psychiatrist claiming to be a professional deflowerer of women.  After losing all his clients, the man assumes that the psychiatrist is a rival deflowerer.  Mostly dialogue-based, Sword Fight gets more ridiculous as it goes along, including the reveal of what the title actually means. An enjoyable little short.
7 | FAIR  Happy B-Day
On his birthday, a man and his girlfriend try to find a solution for a sticky situation.  A macabre and humorous short, Happy B-Day depicts one of the most messed up birthdays ever.
8 | LIKED IT Strange Thing
A married couple named Jake and Kris find a mysterious door in their apartment.  Strange Things is a well done little thriller, with some pretty decent special effects and an interesting twist at the end.
8 | LIKED IT He Took His Skin Off For Me
At the request of his girlfriend, a man takes off his skin, but finds that life is much more complicated for him.  He Took His Skin Off For Me is a twisted little romance, which is also quite touching.  The make-up effects of the skinless man are quite decent and the short has a macabre humour involving how the man now leaves blood everywhere.  Despite the somewhat gross premise, He Took His Skin Off For Me was a very well done dark romance.
A woman brings her sick boyfriend to an unhuman being, which is said to be able to cure sickness in males.  This Japanese short is weird, messed up and gross and not really my thing.
6 | WATCHABLE Redaction
A woman refuses to receive redaction after an incident.  Redaction is well done little science fiction short about a world that would rather erase crimes than prosecute them.  The film remains quite vague what this redaction process is until the very end and the film ends up being a quite interesting little sci-fi tale.  I quite enjoyed this one.
 9 | REALLY LIKED IT Dynamic Venus
A female superhero named Dynamic Venus gets her superpowers by being beaten by her husband.  Featuring a very twisted premise, this animated Japanese short is undoubtedly the most controversial of the Shorts After Dark line-up.  While I have to admit I didn’t mind the dark irony of the domestic violence angle, Dynamic Venus oversteps its bounds with a very dark and bleak ending, which is is incredibly hard to watch.  This turned out to be not a very pleasant film.

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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.