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I had the opportunity to attend the Nightmares Film Festival this year where I saw many short horror films from a variety of visionary filmmakers, each with their own unique perspectives. Below is my coverage of a few of my most memorable from the festival:


"On a distressed trip to the ocean, eight-year-old misfit Miranda finds a shipwrecked man on an otherwise deserted beach. Inspired by the short story by Septimus Dale." 


The Little Girl Eater takes us on a family vacation to a secluded beach near the ocean. When a little girl wanders away from her parents and finds herself on an eerily empty beach, she discovers a mysterious being who has washed ashore. The practical effects and makeup in this short are top notch which contribute to an eerie & grotesque creature fueled by a little girl’s vivid imagination. The atmosphere reminded me of A24’s The Lighthouse and it features an unnerving twist ending.


"A young woman, alone at night, must face her fear when three men appear in her home." 


This one was a surprise absurdist comic relief in a sea of mostly dreary, dark stories. In the spirit of Nightmares, sometimes they aren’t as scary as they are just plain weird. This short explores the consequences of indulging in too much sugar before your bedtime. The tone quickly shifts from mystery/suspense to nonsensical comedy, reminding me of something from the golden age of Adult Swim.

PARTNR (2023)

"When her bionic boyfriend Ethan proposes, Jackie finally feels like she has found her happily ever after-- until a chance encounter with another human shows her how messy love can really be." 


Partnr takes place in a not-so-far away future where the ‘perfect’ partner can be purchased at your fingertips. It poses the question: If you could tailor make the perfect partner, would your life really be perfect? Or is there irreplaceable value in imperfection and human connection, flaws and all?

This short was beautifully shot on film by writer/director Kaylin Allshouse, with every frame carefully planned out and shot concisely. The acting was raw with emotion and humanity worn on the characters’ sleeves. These performances helped craft a thoughtful juxtaposition to the protagonist’s ‘perfect’ Partnr who lacked these irreplaceable aspects of humanity.


"What starts as a romantic trip in the wilderness, turns ugly as Tessa fights for her life in the winter of Yellowstone National Park." 


Leaving Yellowstone is a visceral viewing experience taking place in Yellow Stone National Park in the midst of a frigid, unforgiving winter. What starts out as a romantic getaway, quickly devolves into something much more sinister.


Leaving Yellowstone takes the audience on a heart thumping thrill ride and vie for survival. The gorgeous wildlife and nature of Yellowstone are captured by the skillful cinematography which makes for a unique setting for the horrors that soon unfold.


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"A father grows suspicious that there's an intruder in his house, only to discover something much darker." 


In this relatable psychological horror, a new father struggles with his fear of not being able to protect his family in a time of crisis. At first, the new father (Max Woertendyke) gung-ho about being ‘the man of the house,’ but when push comes to shove he quickly discovers his inner-fear and helplessness in not being able to protect his child from an intruder. 

The lighting and camera work were effective in creating a somber and claustrophobic environment inside the family’s home. This short takes a peek inside the human mind, exploring insecurities and self-doubt we can all relate to. The ending is open ended and left up to audience interpretation, but will keep you wondering long after the credits roll.

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