Monday, October 26, 2015

Sean Kelly

TADFF15: Shorts After Dark

The international shorts at this year's Toronto After Dark Film Festival included uninvited guests, things that go bump in the night, and very bizarre animated tales. Here is the rundown of the Shorts After Dark line-up.

The Guests
While waiting for her husband to come home, Anna (Matlida Ridgway) becomes host to an unexpected housewarming party. There isn't all that much to The Guests, which involves a woman on her own with her baby, this unexpected party, and a sudden switch. That said, it's still an OK short.

Lydia's (Rachel Winters) sister Katie (Isabelle King) died in mysterious circumstances. When she returns home late one night to find her front door unlocked, a series of strange occurrences suggest she isn't alone. It can be hard for a film to build pure tension, however Vicious more than accomplishes this task. A scene of a shadowy figure moving through the dark is probably one of the more scary things I have seen this year. While the film does end on a bit of a cheap jump scare, it is still a highly effective piece of terror.

A woman finds herself trapped in a bunker under a farm filled with carnivorous creatures.  Quite dark and very gory, Boniato is a short film that can almost be described as The Decent on a farm. The film is quite well produced and I wouldn't mind seeing this story expanded in feature-length form.

A group of warriors confront that which stands between them and the power to save their people. Exordium features rotoscoped animation and some very bloody violence. While the animation is impressive, the short turns into a crazy acid trip of sorts.

The Black Forest
A knight rides into a cursed forest to rescue a damsel from a terrible ogre and find out what happened to his brother. The Black Forest is a well-produced fantasy, with some well-done practical monster effects.

Awesome Runaway!
A prisoner tries to make a run for it. Awesome Runaway! features some decent action, but is marred by some nauseating shaky camerawork and plot that kind of goes downhill. However, it is neat seeing an action short that originates from New Caledonia.

Movies in Space
Travis Shepard is an astronaut, who lands on the planet of the Corplox race (Jack De Sena) and becomes involved in their film industry. Movies in Space is a somewhat ridiculous film involving a man who makes a career making movies out of beeps and colours and ends up being pulled in by drugs and ego. While it's cute, this short is also a bit on the dumb side.

Myrna The Monster
Myrna (Kathleen Hanna) is an alien being, who is struggling to adjust life on Earth. Featuring a mix of live action, puppetry, and animation, Myrna The Monster is a quite well produced short film, with the puppetry being not unlike something Jim Henson would have done.

Glen is barely a man. In a desperate attempt to tap into his masculinity he attends a primal scream therapy session, surrounded by wailing men he cannot even make a sound. When another member of the class pushes Glen too far he finally lets something out- a miniature version of himself which does whatever it wants, regardless of the consequences. Manoman is a short film that combines old school puppetry, complete with strings, with some very crude humour.  This is a short that is likely going to leave many asking what the hell they have just watched, particularly after the final sing-a-long moments.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).