Atlanta’s Women in Horror Film Festival offered a fine selection of shorts, including these tales of psychic baggage, inevitable doom, and classic supernatural horror.
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
A young couple’s sudden visit to a Pranic healer leads to disturbing events in writer/director M. Burger’s Cleanse. Healer Dana (Samone Murray) is just about to wrap up at her office for the day when Ashley (Katy Atkinson) and her skeptical wife Jessica (Lauren Lox) come in, seeking help for self-proclaimed “weird stuff” that has been happening. Ashley sleepwalked off of the couple’s second-story balcony and has been suffering from panic attacks and bad dreams. As Dana tries to help Ashley using a no-touch method of energy healing, Dana sees eerie, unsettling sights. Burger has crafted a brooding short with impressive effects that ramp up a feeling of dread. Murray, Atkinson, and Lox all turn in gripping performances, and Jacob Leighton Burns’ cinematography captures the proceedings splendidly.
The Last Vacation
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Writer/director Ryan Ann Davis’ microshort consists of a slideshow about a family’s titular trip. Chillingly effective, with a fittingly creepy score by Daniel Salo, The Last Vacation rewards repeat viewings as well as being a disquieting first-time watch.
In Her Shoes
★★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Belgian horror short In Her Shoes is a spooky terror tale about a young girl named June (Romy Heere) who separates herself from her mother in a cemetery when she hears the voice of another child. Her curiosity sets her off on a spine-tingling journey. Director Ray Kermani, who cowrote the screenplay with Ines Swinters, invests his splendid-looking short with the feel of classic supernatural cinema. Heere, who has Downs Syndrome, gives an absolutely marvelous performance.
These shorts screened at Women in Horror Film Festival, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, from February 27–29.