We kick off our coverage of the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Fest with a look at two of the fest’s exceptional blocks of short horror programming.
We are honored to have the opportunity to cover the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, now its 4th year of celebrating the boldest in horror filmmaking. The BHFF is one of the premiere film fests on the East coast, with this year’s programming spanning 8 days from October 17th-24th. Genre fans and film lovers are being treated to 35 feature films and 40 shorts playing throughout Brooklyn.
In addition to the festival’s boundary-pushing features, one of the major highlights of the BHFF is its incredible Shorts Program, featuring five blocks of exceptional horror short programming: Home Invasion, Nightmare Fuel, Creeping Terror, Head Trip and Slayed.
We had the chance to check out the popular CREEPING TERROR block: consisting of five unforgettably horrifying films in this group of longer, more meticulous scare products that tap into deadly family traditions, unique vampire lore, urban legends and more.
We also scored seats to the SLAYED block: a diverse and empowering line up of LGBTQ+ shorts. Each film touches on various aspects of LGBT issues from the horrors of coming out, sexuality, homophobia, transphobia and more, using the magic of filmmaking to produce powerful messages behind the intense emotion and terror throughout the narratives.
CREEPING TERROR PROGRAM
OTHER SIDE OF THE BOX
This short is the perfect example of how you can make a great film with so much substance with so little time and budget. The premise is extremely simple, revolving around a mysterious box with a set of rules, yet the execution makes it such an intense and breathtaking watch. The characters were also really easy to invest in since their confusion and fear is completely relatable, especially since we only know as much as they do.
This combined with the steady pacing of the mystery, the heart-stopping climax and the haunting pair of eyes watching our loving couple completes this very masterful short.
‘Grief’ can very easily be interpreted as an exploration of grief and the strain it takes on personal relationships. The story follows a married couple whose son is missing and presumed dead. Although little is known about the details of the son’s death, it is the horrifying effect his death has on his parents that centres the film.
As the parents, Kevin and Esther are visited by a strange man from their support group, their marital problems come to boil in the most horrific way possible. Although a second watch is recommended as the film dips into heavily the surreal, it is a very intriguing and emotional ride.
Layered with a false sense of security and strong suspense, this film presents another reason to be terrified of meeting your in-laws for the first time. As a young woman meets her new boyfriend’s family, she is confronted with the deeply unsettling, and deadly, burdens of his family’s past… but not in the ways she thinks.
The best thing about this that its mystery is built up effectively so that everything falls automatically into place upon the terrifying conclusion. The sense of betrayal is also heavily felt since we, like the girlfriend, have been lied to the entire time. The monsters were well-constructed and frightening, especially taking into consideration their unique origins. Overall, The Burden captivating and entertaining short.
SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT
A refreshing take on the modern vampire, this short explores the journey of a young nurse, Valentina, who has been barred from seeing her twin daughters by her human ex-partner due to her vampirism. Forced to hide her identity due to society’s intolerance to vampires, she struggles to suppress her bloodlust whilst living in a world that degrades her as both a vampire and a woman of colour.
The film is clever with its use of vampires, using the supernatural creatures as a bold method of commenting on race since even in the underworld, there is still racism. This prejudice hovers over Valentina at work and it is the main reason her ex-partner refuses to let her see her children.
Actress, Natalie Paul does an amazing job at establishing her character as the emotional centre of the film, ensuring that we feel for Valentina throughout her every struggle. Valentina herself is a very multi-layered character and you can tell there’s a lot more to her and her story than the seventeen-minute film has shown, making it one of those short films that you hope will be adapted into a feature.
The Boogeywoman centers an urban myth that helps women seek revenge against those who would wrong them. This comes handy to our protagonist as she gets her first period on a night out with her ‘friends’ and encounters many terrifying aspects of womanhood that she learns to face.
The cinematography was beautiful and vibrant with no boring-looking shoot in the entire film. Each scene burst with some kind of contrasting color befitting the intense and/or daunting atmosphere of the scene. The film had plenty of substance with interesting characters, tightly-wound suspense scenes and an overall empowering message of the horrors of becoming a woman in body and how to become a powerful woman in personality.
Jeremiah is a clever and sincere short centered around a young man’s journey of self-discovery. The film has plenty to say in regards to a range of topics from masculinity, perceptions of gay men, the dangers of suppressing emotion and coming out.
Jeremiah, an Asian-American teenager is haunted by a mysterious figure that pushes him to face his darkest fears. As a football player, the pressure to conform to certain stereotypes and expectations is unspoken but there nonetheless. However, the film challenges these stereotypes by putting a traditionally masculine man in a situation where he is questioning and fearful of sexuality.