Day 3 of The Final Girls Berlin Film Festival delivers the offbeat, twisted, subversive short horror content fans of midnight movies crave.
On the third day of the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival celebrating the diverse contributions of women working in the genre, attendees were treated to the ever popular Midnight Movies short horror block. Notoriously dark, bloody, and boundary-pushing, these shorts deliver the best and most gleefully gruesome content of the fest.
Friendsgiving, Dir. Samantha Kolesnik (USA)
With a dark and terrifying twist on a classic American holiday, Friendsgiving manages to effectively disturb the audience within its short run time. The creepy and unsettling characters set up a suspicious Thanksgiving dinner which eases into a horrific experience for the guest and a delight for the hosts.
Nepenthes, Dir. Ariel Hansen (Canada)
Nepenthes is a unique and terrifying warning of the dangers of online dating and meeting strangers over the internet. The film gradually builds up to its clenching climax that leaves the audience in a state of shock and desperation as the heroine struggles to escape.
Eat Me, Dir. Helena Aguilera (Mexico)
A more socially-orientated short, Eat Me centers around the consequences that befall two police officers after they attempt to sexually assault a waitress. Not only do they face the wrath of their almost victim but also a strange being (with impeccable make up and costuming) who has a taste for human flesh.
Road Trash, Dir. Natasha Pascetta (USA)
The best thing about this film is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously — that combined with great sets, cinematography, and lead heroine. The fun and spooky film is destined to stand out and keep audiences intrigued and entertained.
Call Girl, Dir. Jill Gevargizian (USA)
Call Girl is a clever and suspenseful film that proves that one can achieve a quality product with simple, limited material. The film is produced from an unmoving camera that continues rolling even as the actors leave the frame, as if one was watching on a live web cam. The villain’s seemingly innocent and pathetic personality is stripped away as he steps in front of the webcam, his appearance changing from ordinary to frightening and disturbing. Surprisingly, this is not done with make-up or special effects but by using only clever positioning and the blue glow of the screen.
The villain’s true intentions come with an additional shocking twist, the call girl in question taking back her strength and serving the consequences of her client’s actions. Both main characters, the call girl and the villain, represent a ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ message — surprising each other with hidden motives and capabilities. You can watch the full short here.
Donor, Dir. Lori Alex & Aria Sini (Canada)
Donor begins as any normal vlogger oversharing their life on a live stream. Yet after settling he audience into the calmness of the narrator’s soothing voice, the shocking truth of the circumstances are revealed. Like Call Girl, Donor is successful in making a horrifying film with the use of a simple props, a single location, very few speaking characters and a lot of fake blood.
What makes the vlogger/narrator so disturbing is her delusion that she is a charitable and generous person and that people are not ‘grateful’ for her ‘help’. Although one can easily imagine an everyday pretty girl behind the camera, her actions conflict with her sickly-sweet voice and perky personality.
The film itself is deeply disturbing and is to be watched with caution, as the intense scenes are not for the faint of heart.
Eternity, Dir. Pina Brutal (Germany)
This erotic horror presents the audience with a satisfying sense of justice as a client at a strip club is given his just deserts upon disrespecting one of the sex workers, his condescending ‘respect’ for women and his lust turning on him in dramatic fashion. The film is heavily erotic with fitting suspenseful scenes and a well-paced build up towards the climax (no pun intended).
The Stare, Dir. Louisa Weichmann (Australia)
In a literal sense, The Stare is an all too familiar tale for women who feel afraid to take public transport at night due to the risks. It also relays the consequences of trauma as the ghost of a woman’s childhood abuse corners her in an empty train carriage. The build-up to the closing climax is gradually molded with flashbacks of the woman’s abuse and the slow emptying of the train carriage as the fellow travelers leave her alone with a deranged attacker. Chilling, real and impactful, The Stare is a film that will stick with an audience even after the last of the credits roll.
The Body Corporate, Dir. Stepanka Cervinkova (Australia)
A more uplifting horror short, The Corporate Body calls out the ownership companies have over their lower level employees, in this case, literally taking ownership of their bodies after death. The ‘worked to death’ workers confront their situation with an upbeat and grim humor in an attempt to take back their afterlives.