Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2018- Canadian Pre-Feature Short FilmsOctober 13, 2018
Along with the big feature films that play at Toronto After Dark Film Festival, short films have a huge presence and many times are incredible pieces of work. Below you will find ‘short’ reviews of some of the entries in this year’s festival that precede the feature films:
After The Rain (World premiere, screens with The Dark, Wednesday, October 17th)
Written and directed by BJ Verot, After The Rain tells the story of kids who go missing after a big storm. Coming in at a brisk two and a half minutes, there is not much time to build tension and story but Verot effectively mixes parents and children’s worst fears that results in a quick but creepy film.
Alone (screens with Anna and the Apocalypse Saturday, October 13th)
That feeling of totally being creeped out by something while alone is a fear we all have and probably experienced in one way or another. Written and directed by Amanda Row, Alone sets the scene by placing a young woman all alone, housesitting for a friend, and noticing an old woman just standing and watching her. Suffice to say there is more to it than that but Row builds the feeling of dread up very well, so much so that the audience knows something bad is going to happen, even though they will be surprised at what transpires.
The Baby Blue Canoe (screens with The Ranger Wednesday, October 17th)
Margot is at the cottage, with her mom, and we all know what that feels like. Enter a big blue canoe and its occupant, coaxing Margot to come along and join a cottage party. Even though his creepy demeanor is a dead giveaway this is going to end badly, it is done so well I found myself urging Margot to get in the damn canoe so I could see what was going to happen. Written and directed by Ryan Couldrey, The Baby Blue Canoe is one of those films that will strike a chord with everyone one of us who wanted to be defiant and take a risk, while being thankful we survived to tell our own personal tale.
Clown Killer (screens with Lifechanger on Tuesday, October 17th)
Ah, clowns. They bring out such a deep and disturbing fear in people, it’s amazing there are more movies about them. Written and directed by Althea Manasan, Clown Killer is a bit of a twist on the regular ‘evil clown’ idea we usually see in the horror genre. In this bit of mayhem, clowns also become targets but it turns into a ‘who is hunting who’ story that is loads of fun and interesting to watch. I have no doubt that there will be some cheers at certain points but be warned, this is a twisted little tale.
Death Van (screens with LUZ Thursday, October 18th)
Well, that was a little different. The film follows what is described as a space-rock duo known as Death Van, who travel through strange, miniature world inhabited by strange surreal creatures and presided over by a menacing and mischievous entity. Yes, folks, that is a pretty good description and you know what, it really works. Never mind the good versus evil slant, the rock duo fighting for the little guy and the wonderful animation…this short had me with army men riding mice. Created and directed by Michael Enzbrunner, Death Van is a mind bender of a short and very well done.
The Ticket (screens with Mega Time Squad Friday, October 12th)
Winning the lottery may not be all it’s cracked up to be and in this case, it’s not about money but starting a ‘new life’ aboard an alien ship. Written and directed by James Villeneuve, The Ticket explores just the old adage ‘too good to be true’ with an alien wrinkle and some interesting visuals. This is one of those short films that you could see being used to pitch a TV series or movie and has the definite feel of the old series ‘V’ to it.
Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs from October 11th to 19th at Scotiabank Theater