As another Halloween rolls around, the kids get ready to hit the trick or treat trail and the grown folk gear up for marathons of the scariest flicks they can find. If you're looking for a short film line up to satiate those ghoulish movie cravings then we've got the collection for you!
The Brain Hack
Dir: Joseph White
This gem of a thriller from 2015 is one of the most exquisitely crafted short films we've seen in years. Following two students who test out their theory that perfectly presented geometric images induce visions of God, we are pulled along on a hair raising journey as their exploits attract the attention of a dangerous ultra-religious sect. This film takes its time to get into the meat of the thrills but hooks you immediately with a stunning intro and brilliantly paced build up. Anchored by engaging performances from its leads Edward Franklin and Alexander Owen and expertly guided by writer/director Joseph White, The Brain Hack brings a big budget feel to the short film landscape.
On the lighter end of the scale, but no less lacking in its ability to build tension and bring the gore is The Grey Matter. Showing a masterful knowledge and love of genre film, the McCoubrey brothers somehow manage to blend an underdog romantic comedy into an eerie and deliciously disturbing movie about the outbreak of a potential zombie apocalypse. Office stiff Simon (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) wakes up in a alley with a hole in the back of his head and things get weirder from there. Meanwhile office buddy Mitch (Carter Roy) encourages Simon to engage his inner lover (while at the same time sticking to his league of "pleasently plump three time divorcees"). Enter Emily (Lucy Walters), the girl from work who is way out of Simon's league...until he emerges as a man possessed. This short film nails the transition from light-hearted romance to foreboding dread and pulls it off with a huge dose of fun that makes repeat viewings inevitable.
Argentinian writer/director Andrés Borghi brings us a tale of guilt and spurned love as Franco (Sergio Berón) mourns the death of his ex-girlfriend while contemplating whether he is partly responsible for her death by ending their relationship. As he slips deeper into remorse, prompting an intervention from his new girlfriend, Melina (Paula Carruega), Franco finds himself being visited by a literal ghost from the past. Settling effectively into haunted house territory, Borghi plies his trade to great effect, mining genuine tension shot by shot, minute by minute. Even knowing what is coming does nothing to deflate the apprehension, all leading to a horrifying pay off. We recommend you watch this in the dark for full effect.
Dir: Basil Al-Safar & Rashad Al-Safar
The purchase of a mystery Jigsaw Puzzle from a strange and unsettling vendor leads a man to an evening of frightening consequences. This multi-award winning horror short is exquisitely shot and its unnerving tone is established in its opening moments. The Al-Safar brothers show an incredible dedication to craft as they meticulously build a treacherous, almost tangibly hostile atmosphere around an unsuspecting old man (Pedro Monteiro) who searches for a puzzle to fill his lonely evenings. Stubbornly refusing to heed the warnings of a vendor (Daragh O'Malley) when he chooses the titular jigsaw puzzle, a chain of events are set in motion that are captured with stunning cinematography from Rashad Al-Safar and expertly revealed as the vendor's warnings are realised in chilling form.
Dir: John Landis
Not technically from an emerging talent, but how on Earth is Halloween complete without this classic music video/short film? At a spritely 35 years old, Michael Jackson's Thriller remains as chilling as it is electrifying. We challenge you to not go from recoiling into your chair to full on busting a groove!
Happy Halloween, folks!
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