San Francisco’s Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, which runs online and in the theater from December 1st–15th, 2021, offers an amazing array of short films as well as a bevy of incredible independent feature films. Following are reviews of four of the shorter-length horror shorts on tap for the fest.
Posted No Hunting
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Alisa Stern
Posted No Hunting is director/animator Alisa Stern’s spin on the “caught on trail cam” YouTube videos that purport to show cryptids or other strange entities at night in the deep, dark forest. Using puppets made of wood, rubber, and clay in a stop-motion animation short, there are indeed some strange goings-on here, and the static that interferes with the video transmissions aren’t enough to stop the big, cool-looking reveal to which this black-and-white 2:36 short builds. The animation is well done, the puppets look great, and the screenplay by Stern and Scott Ampleford is tight and suspenseful.
★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Dmitri Tsozik
If the thoughts of wet hair that doesn’t belong to you or bathroom grunge make you gag, The Clump just might make you want to retch, so well done are the practical effects and acting. A woman (Natasha Tsozik) encounters a mysterious entity while brushing her teeth in her home. Told without dialogue and minimal but highly effective special effects, along with a believable performance by Natasha Tsozik, The Clump is a supernatural short-short well directed by Dmitri Tsozik that pays off handsomely.
A Darker Place
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Directed by Rowan Kelley
What begins as a stand-off between a military member (John Kelley) and a monster inside a house turns into a bizarre multidimensional hunt in this terrific creature feature. Well-paced and with a jolting climax, this science-fiction/horror hybrid was made in 2020 during the quarantine when writer/director Rowan Kelley was 17 years old. Tsevetomir Georgiev’s creature design is fantastic and is complemented by some nice visual effects flourishes.
★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Craig Low
How did a young woman (Jazmyn W.) get her new apartment so cheap? It was thanks to a young woman (Erika Medina) who discovered the hard way that the sign warning people not to touch other people’s laundry in the building’s shared laundry room is no joke. Director Craig Low packs a nice amount of eeriness into his 3:33 short, which boasts an imaginative color palette including some fun use of the color pink. Creature FX artist Cig Neutron’s creation is both hilarious and chilling. James Wong’s thumping score helps drive the proceedings along nicely.
Posted No Hunting, The Clump, A Darker Place, and Don’t Touch screen as part of San Francisco’s Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, which takes place December 1st–15th, 2021 with an offering of over 25 features and 200+ short films. The majority of content will be available on-demand via the Eventive platform, plus live online screenings with audience interaction and filmmaker Q&A on the Zoom platform, plus the long-awaited theatrical screenings at New People Cinema in San Francisco’s Japantown.