Over at Bloody Cuts, they’re kicking off 2014 with Who’s There? a horror short film challenge. With over 280 films submitted, there is a wealth of talent from budding filmmakers from across the globe. The rules, the film must be no more than 3 minutes long, it must be an original film made especially for the Who’s There challenge, with ‘Who’s There?’ as the theme and the budget must not exceed $1000. The best films will be watched and voted for by a formidable judging panel including body horror legend Joe Dante, Marcus Dunstan, writer of the Saw films and Gale Anne Hurd, co-producer of The Terminator.
I’ve picked some of my favourites after Bloody Cuts announced their top 6 finalists on the 26th January. It took me quite a while to sift through them, and admittedly, I haven’t seen them all (to be fair it’s 14 hours worth of films!) but there are some really, really good examples of filmmaking in the competition!
D.S (Dir. Federico Sfascia)
Upon the first viewing of this, it’s difficult to see past the hammy overacting. But watch it all the way through, and you’ll see that the hammy acting only adds to its charm. D.S. is deliberately very mischievous and cheeky. The music and sound effects are frantic and brilliantly compliment the eccentric tone of the film. The puppets are impressive and D.S. is a strange mixture of Jean Pierre Jeunet’s Delicatessen and Critters, which works in every way.
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A… (Dir. Peter Czikrai)
With last year’s release of The Conjuring, 70s horror is making a very much welcomed come-back. A… invokes everything great about the golden age of horror; with nods to The Exorcist and The Omen. Stunning makeup and impressive sound only add to the horror show, which unfolds into something so much more horrific than demon possession. Brilliantly creative and left us wanting more!
The Sinkling (Dir. Yelena Baykova)
The Sinkling isn’t particularly scary, nor is it the best performances or even the best story. But what makes it special is it was made using an iPhone 5. The quality of the film is right up there, in fact probably exceeding some of the other films which were perhaps made with specialist filming equipment. We’ve picked The Sinkling to highlight that you don’t need to spend lots of money and time in creating cinema, in fact you’ve got all you need right in your pocket.
14 Masseytown Terrace (Dir. Richard Lacey)
14 Masseytown Terrace taps into something which most of us should be fairly familiar with, renting out a room in a shared house. The main motivation is price, it’s got to be cheap, but would you live with satanic cultists for the sake of cheap rent? If they’ve got a sense of humour like these guys then the answer is probably yes. Brilliantly funny, superbly acted, 14 Masseytown Terrace is an exceptional submission to the competition.
Pripyat (Dir. Chris Lodge)
Genuinely terrifying, Pripyat follows three soldiers clearing an area ready to be bombed and they need to leave the area, radioing for help is fruitless. You never actually see anything, but implied is a zombie outbreak. Scenery and costumes are exceptionally impressive, difficult to believe that this film was made for less than $1000 and particularly the gory end to one of the soldiers. Pripyat is a brilliant example of what can be achieved through good editing, sound, lighting and cinematography.
Cast (Two Dollar Corkage Films)
The one we liked best at Cinema Chords was Cast. A simple plot, an actor going to an audition and not quite getting the reaction he wants. Let’s just say he handles rejection badly. But Cast is different from others, in that its lack of speaking parts, it is sound tracked by a voiceover and beautiful piano music. The actors do a great job of being just expressive enough to convey the story without being hammy, and the edited final sequence is marvellous, evoking Psycho and American Psycho. Cast is a truly exceptional example of less is more when it comes to cinema.
Of course, from over 280 films there is a huge variety, and it’s been difficult choosing just six, so check out the YouTube playlist for all of them, set aside some time and witness horror greatness!
Other films I enjoyed were Book vs. Antiquarian, Abomino, Beyond Red, The Confession, Down the Drain, Dreamliner, Juice, Little Death, Malware, The Next One, Patient 42, Remains and YOLO.