Joseph’s Romford Horror Festival Shorts Reviews: SPELLBOUND, ROOM 301, and SEE WHAT SHE DID


★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Directed by Robin Rippmann

Scary DVDs! Woo!

James (Nikolas Salmon) is having a very weird time in director Robin Rippmann’s Swiss short Spellbound, including odd objects in his microwave pasta, strange whispers, and bizarre dreams. With very little dialogue until the climax of the short, Spellbound’s suspense is built up by tense use of sound design and score, arresting visuals including great-looking dream sequences and occult-flavored set pieces, and cinematic clues building to a satisfying payoff. Salmon is terrific as the plagued James, and Liza Callinicos shines in an important supporting role. Rippmann has crafted an engaging, thoroughly entertaining short serving up some nice surprises.

ARK Indie Productions has two U.K. short films playing at Romford Horror Festival, Room 301 and See What She Did.

Room 301

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Directed by Darren Kent

Director Darren Kent’s Room 301 shows that elaborate special effects aren’t necessary to create a highly effective horror short. Abby (Samantha Anderson, who also wrote the screenplay) arrives at a hotel for her first day on the job as a maid, but the place seems deserted. When she sees the titular room for the first time, the place is in shambles, with empty alcohol bottles and trash strewn about. That will soon be the least of her problems, though, as a mysterious presence hasn’t checked out yet. The simplicity of that entity’s design — I don’t want to give away any spoilers regarding what it looks like — proves there’s plenty yet to be mined from scare-fare tropes if strong doses of creativity and imagination are behind them. Kent does a solid job at the helm, and Anderson gives a fine performance. 

See What She Did

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Directed by Daniel Keeble

Writer/director Daniel Keeble’s See What She Did is a mind-twister involving two women — Cassie (Samantha Anderson, who also receives a story credit) and Stephanie (Elena Clements) — who go on a camping trip fueled with alcohol and illicit drugs. As astute readers might guess, this leads to no good. Keeble constructs a wild, hedonistic set-up and then takes viewers down a different, chilling path, with all of the proceedings being mesmerizing. Makeup Artist Chloe Kirsten Bonham provides some goosebumps-inducing practical makeup effects.

Reviews by Joseph Perry

Spellbound, Room 301, and See What She Did screen as part of Romford Horror Festival, which takes place in Romford, U.K. from February 23–26, 2023. For more information, visit http://www.romfordhorrorfestival.com/.

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