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A brilliantly executed short starring Bella Ramsey, “Requiem” masterfully reflects both the sins of our past and the horror of our present.


There is one thing that is always terrifying because it remains a real threat in the world today, not just one so often portrayed in fiction. That threat is religious fanaticism.

Someone who can justify and celebrate terrible and cruel acts because of some kind of moral, greater good. When committing an act of persecution, torture, or murder, a religious fanatic can claim it is being done in the name of a higher power. In this way, such heinous acts are often excused or even praised.

When the horror genre taps into this area, it can always make for a chilling experience, and in Requiem, the short horror directed by Em Gilbertson and written by Laura Jane Tunbridge, the full force of this is on display. In the effective horror short, a puritanical witch hunt seizes a village in 1605.

The film is a strong, own-voice LGBTQ+ horror featuring great representation in its cast.

Representation really matters, especially in the current political climate when the voices of marginalized communities are being censored, banned, and erased.

Requiem clocks in at just over twenty-four minutes and does not waste a single second of that runtime in telling a tragic tale of secret love, queer identity, religious fanaticism, and the horrific things done during the time of the witch trials.

At the heart of it, Requiem is a coming-of-age story about a girl struggling against the puritanical rules of the day to be her authentic self and to be with the girl she loves.

The main character of the film is Evelyn Gilbert, the daughter of the community’s minister, played by the rising star of the genre and new queer icon Bella Ramsey (The Last of Us).

It is easy to see why Ramsey is such a rising star from their portrayal of Evelyn, as they evoke such an emotional response to their plight. Ramsey’s range is phenomenal, and we get to see them really showcase their talents in this short.

Minister Gilbert, played by Simon Balcon, is a terrifying antagonist who makes you seethe with anger at his actions and the oppression of his daughter. Mary, Evelyn’s secret love, is played brilliantly by Safia Oakley-Green, and their hidden relationship will make your heart ache.

Alongside the brilliant performances from Ramsey and the talented support cast, we get a magnificent score and sound design from Madison Willing and Miles Sullivan, respectively.

The use of sound in REQUIEM struck me almost as much as the great acting, creating a perfect union of sound and visuals — a masterclass of short horror storytelling. Click To Tweet

The ambiance of the sound during the romantic sequences is almost dreamlike, and the swell of the score during the tragic and horrific moments makes your heart race.

Although Requiem is set at the beginning of the 1600s, the film mirrors the growing witch hunt that members of the LGBTQ+ community are currently facing with its story of Evelyn and Mary having to hide their true selves from their peers for fear of a terrible fate.

During Pride Month especially, Requiem is an important film to watch and one that will surely be topping lists of great LGBTQ+ horror for years to come.

Requiem is available to watch now on ALTER.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 5


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