When it comes to short horror films you never quite know what you are going to get, and to be brutally honest, many of the submissions we get at Ginger Nuts towers are extremely dull and hardly worth a mention. That’s not the case here.
James Morris presented us with three links, however, I would say on a technicality there are four episodes in the series thus far, as ‘Lethal Repair’ was from what I can tell, (and I’m sure they’ll correct me if I am wrong,) the progenitor, a kind of ‘episode zero’. Conceived, shot, edited, and delivered in forty-eight hours as Witching Season Films’ submission to the Salt Lake City 48 Hour Film Festival in 2014. I found it on YouTube and was glad to have done so.
Shot in 4K, ‘Lethal Repair’ is slick and minimalist. Clocking in at 7 ½ minutes it is the story of a repairman who gets a rather unusual call out to fix a rather unusual typewriter. I have watched hundreds of short films that have taken far longer to produce with less pleasing results. What appears to be their first tentative step into horror filmmaking has just the right amount of story without being over-the-top. Check it out at the following link:
Now that is out of the way, onwards to the review as requested, which is in episode order.
The first episode is
‘Killer on the Loose’.
As with ‘Lethal Repair’, ‘Killer on the Loose’, has high production values. It is clear from the outset that there is a very John Carpenter vibe about the production as a whole. It is something of a familiar theme, with, as the title suggests, a killer on the loose. The intros (used for all of their titles) are very clean, the score somewhat reminiscent of the Halloween movies, and the short itself is gorgeous to look at, mainly as the lighting and camera work is expertly handled. In my opinion, it is very well acted and could easily be shown in regular cinemas before a main feature. For me there is only one drawback, which is the twist ending. It has been done before, but then again, most things have. As with any slasher movie you know what to expect, but the fun is in going along for the ride. At around twelve minutes without titles and credits. It will not take up too much of your time and is good fun. You can watch it here:
Episode 2: Princess.
This is my favourite of the three episodes proper; it concerns an apparently single mother with a young daughter called Jamie, a house move and a box of toys left behind by the previous tenants. This is not the usual creepy dolls story, it is actually more a ‘fluffy bunny’ story. You will understand that when you watch it. As with the previous episode it has the Halloween intro setting up brand, the same high production values et cetera. It is clear watching this that Witching Season as a production company is not a one trick pony, and that they are determined in offering quality viewing. One thing I can definitely approve of is that because they are not aiming at a television market each film is as long as it needs to be, so not poorly edited down or padded out. The difference is only a few minutes here and there but is exactly what makes a difference. There’s even a comedy infomercial inserted for good measure, looks like it would have been great fun to film. Of particular note in ‘Princess’ is the little girl ‘Jamie’ (played by Emily Broschinsky,) she does an excellent job, her overall innocence shining through, making the ending a double whammy that is truly effective. Follow the link to see for yourself:
Episode 3: Not Alone.
Something a little different with the third episode as ‘Not Alone’ is an alien abduction story. Kyle awakens from one sort of nightmare, finding himself confronted by a much worse one. The initial radio voice-over has a fun little reference to ‘Princess’, which turns to static as Kyle’s bedroom starts shaking. What the hell is that thing standing in the corner of the room? Kyle is about to find out in an extremely clever twist of expectations. It actually made me laugh aloud, but then the atmosphere changed... It is around seven minutes without titles, well worth watching, so here it is:
Described by James Morris as something like “Goosebumps for adults,” I can see Witching Season productions becoming very popular, and with episodes four and five in the pipeline I am looking forward to seeing what they will come up with next.