HollyShorts 2020: Horror Block - Film Reviews

This year's HollyShorts film festival has begun, and while this year's festival has gone virtual, there is no shortage of amazing films to watch.  Every creator here has done something amazing, especially as the year has gone on and so many things have happened to complicate this medium. Congratulations to every film that has been spotlighted at this year's festival.

This year's horror films have found a way to be both fun and frightening - each a small addition to the wonderful horror genre. Below will be listed every horror film shown at this year's festival, starting with my favorites. This is a good year to love getting scared, if these films are any indication.

Dir. Jamie Gyngell
Starring Esme Allen, Malcom Davis, Paul Gorostidi, Blade M. Stephens

A young woman finds another person's photo in her pickup, leading her to discover something terrifying in the film's negatives. This one has a really incredible twist near the end and was one of the more compelling horror films of the block.

Couple's Therapy
Dir. Tim Hendrix
 Sratting Rob Pinkston, Bevin Bru, John Alton

A killer couple kidnaps a therapist to assist them in solving their problems, under the threat of murder.

Make a Wish
Dir. Dinh Thai
Starring Edward Hong, Josephine Chang, Roman Moretti

A boyfriend is given the best birthday present ever. This was a very funny and thrilling short, with a lot of over-the-top performances that worked out wonderfully.

Pieces of Me
Dir. Julia Max
Starring Caroline Kapman, Caroline Williams

A young actress discovers a secret to gaining the fame and fortune she craves and uses nefarious means to get what she wants. This was an interesting look at how hard people looking to break into the acting industry have to work get themselves noticed, and the lengths they will go to get to that point.

Dir. Carlyn Hudson
Starring Kerry Baker, Katie Marovich, Raphael Chestang

During a sleepover, the eccentric waffle heiress Katie and her best friend Kerry begin a night that will not be quite what it seems, as the world, as well as their relationship, is not quite as advertised. This is a really interesting look at the isolation of the world, the growing reliance on a created narrative, and a take on the gig economy, making it one of the more interesting films of the block.

Along with my aforementioned personal favorites, the rest of the block also featured some wonderful short films:

Dir. Bishal Dutta
Starring Taylor Cloyes, Craig Ng

 After waking up with no idea where she is, a woman escapes a terrifying creature that has begun to give her chase.

Killing Small Animals
Dir. Marcus Svanberg
Starring Matilde Skold, Svanberg

A woman gets overwhelmed by her anxieties and starts doing a terrible thing. And now that she's started, she can't stop. This is a very powerful film, but it's also very, very hard to watch given some of the violent content towards animals. It really captures the lack of control that can be felt while suffering from anxiety.

Lovemaking of Trolls
Dir. Felix Charin

Told like an old folktale, this tells the story of an internet troll getting a taste of his own medicine, in the form of a troll of another type.

Ouzo and Blackcurrant
Dir. Nat Luurtsema
Starring Cherrelle Skeete, Sara Huxley

Two friends explore their surroundings, only to find something else waiting for them in the fields they're wandering in.
Dir. Aaron Morgan
Starring Allisyn Snyder, Clare Grant, Steve Agee

A strange being leads a group into an abandoned building, capturing them in a game of “Hide and Seek” of sorts.  An abandoned park leads two sisters into a terrifying game with a strange resident who has taken up to staying in the park.

Girl in the Woods
Dir. Laura Kulik
 Starring Nicole Outman

A girl finds some mysterious circumstances in the woods, only to discover it's even more sinister than it seems.

History of Monsters
Dir. Juan Pablo Arias Munoz
Starring Valeria Gonzalez, Oscar Pena

In a remote part of the world, a woman finds a wounded man, saving him from the horrors outside.

Orchard Girl
Dir. Nicholas Dunlevy, Erin Elders
Starring Madeline Zima, James Paxton, Kate Freund

A group of photographers find a remote ranch, only to find something surprising already there when they arrive.

Dir. Kristofer Carlsson
Starring Amelia Clay, Ida Ljungqvist

A mother and child find that their home is not quite what it's meant to be.

These were all some amazing films, and all worth checking out. To see these and all of the other entries to this year's HollyShorts, check out their website for information and ticketing.

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