★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Travis Laidlaw
In Canadian supernatural shocker The Trunk, Marco (Craig Monk) and his teen daughter Cass (Ashleigh Morrison) discover an old trunk covered with chains in the woods and, having evidently never watched a horror movie in their lives, bring it home. They ponder what’s inside and if the contents can bring them some money, but Marco is too tired to be bothered trying to open it that evening. Cass is drawn to it later that night and when she sees something unusual inside its keyhole, she makes the mistake of opening it, unleashing something terrifying and deadly. Writer/director Travis Laidlaw builds up mystery and eeriness wonderfully, adding some jolting, gruesome practical effects makeup for good measure.
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Directed by Sean Bell
In Australian short The Junket, interviewer and self-professed feminist Stan the Man (Cameron Hutt) lands a chinwag with Olivia Sarkin (Sarah Krndija), star of a new vampire film. When she accidentally leaves her mic on while going to the toilet in the middle of her interview, Stan the Man eavesdrops — and hears some highly disturbing information. Writer/director Sean Bell uses solid sound design not only during the build-up of suspense during his horror thriller, but to deliver some good, old-fashioned offscreen shocks, as well. Hutt and Krndija have engaging chemistry together, some of it deliberately awkward.
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Simon Matthew Valentine
A gorgeous looking Norwegian short blending folk horror and ecological horror, Tistlebu (2022) finds young urban couple Sanna (Sacha Slengesol Balgobin) and Karl (Sjur Vatne Brean) beginning a working holiday on a rural sheep farm. Farm owner and widow Anne (Oda Schjøll) teaches them how to stake out property for the sheep and then how to tend something highly unusual in the barn. The object affects the husband and wife psychologically and sexually as the short addresses modern city-dwelling humans’ disconnect with nature. Director Simon Matthew Valentine, who cowrote the screenplay with Alexander Delver, has crafted a mesmerizing short that boasts fine performances along with breathtaking visuals wonderfully captured by cinematographer Torfinn Rønning Sanderud, and delivers a thought-provoking message as it chills with macabre fright-fare elements.
Reviews by Joseph Perry
The Trunk, The Junket, and Tistlebu screen as part of A Night of Horror International Film Festival, which takes place at Dendy Cinemas Newtown, Sydney, Australia, from October 17th until October 23rd, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.anightofhorror.com.
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