A deliciously diverse blend of fear, gross out horror, and humor, Short Film Showcase 2 at Panic Fest was more than satisfying.
I was so blown away by the first block of shorts out of Panic Fest (Showcase 5) that I couldn’t wait to check out the rest of the festival’s stacked short programming lineup. Showcase 2, which debuted on Friday, April 9, was full of great surprises. It was pretty hard to pick favorites when it comes to this block of programming; packed with amusing stories, some gratifying revenge, and heartfelt moments, we were delighted from beginning to end.
This woman really wants to go to this party. Not going sounds great and all, but she’s going to be there, whether she’s got a little stomach bug or not.
Do you remember having to be on a home phone? Not just a home phone but a corded one? Cleverly opening on a coiling phone cord, we’re introduced to determined Francine (Victoria Dunsmore) on the phone as she’s getting ready to go to a party. After hanging up, she starts up the greatest form of audio ever: the cassette tape. We are offered some nostalgia and joy for a split second, but as soon as Francine starts to bake a dish for the aforementioned party, we find out COIL is the body horror type of short.
Reminding us all of a time before we were overthinking our interactions with each other, this short may make you never want to eat something made by someone else ever again. COIL wraps itself up in social anxiety and stress, then manifests that anxiety into the phallic monster we all know it to be.
Spencer Ryerson directs and writes this twisted sweet treat that is sure to disgust.
A neighborhood is being terrorized by a night stalker.
A brilliant way to spend the evening, a woman is seen enjoying wine, painting, and true crime. Unfortunately, the true crime story is the local news and the danger happens to be lurking in her backyard.
Someone is about to be the next target and this woman (Diane Behrens) is not ready to go without trying to do what she does best. From writer, director Meg Swertlow, WATCHER almost goes where you’d expect, but then gives you a dose of the unexpected.
Some people really shouldn’t be messed with and WATCHER will tell you why!
An irritated gymnast coach must deal with a man getting too close to her students on her own.
Complete with instant gratification, STUCK kind of has it all when it comes to a good horror short.
A gymnast coach (Nicola Lambo) waits in her car before work when she sees a man (Davey Johnson) hanging out in the parking lot. She asks him to leave after confirming his intentions are dangerous and he drives off, calling her a slur. He eventually sneaks back and finds a way to be near the young children arriving for practice. Without having to witness too much, we know he deserves the exact revenge he is about to have acted upon him.
I can’t give too much away, but STUCK is truly worth seeing…if you like gory catharsis, but in a comedic fun kinda way.
4. WHO WANTS DESSERT?
A woman tries to move into a new routine with her beloved family and needs to get her therapist to butt out of her newfound peace.
Starting out with almost looks like an early sitcom, WHO WANTS DESSERT? shows Annie (Brigitte Graham) serving her husband (Dan Sykes) and son breakfast. Everything is way too perfect, and Annie comes across as far too happy. She sends her family off for the day and plans her first day on her own with a part-time job.
In fact, things are so perfect for Annie and her family, it seems really odd when her therapist resists the decision to discontinue their sessions. Usually, therapists are happy to let their patients go, it’s a sign that they may have done their job right and the healing is happening. So when Dr. Sarah Chambers (Sean Young) shows up at Annie’s home later in the evening, it seems pretty concerning and convincing that Annie’s reality isn’t quite what she makes it.
Tragically eerie, WHO WANTS DESSERT? written and directed by Venita Ozols-Graham, is a sweet tale that will slice right to your heart.