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LFF checks out the best of feminist female-made short horror with WE ARE THE WEIRDOS 2019

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Named after Fairuza Balk’s iconic line in The Craft, “We Are The Weirdos” is an acclaimed international genre shorts programme featuring exciting and emerging female voices. Self-distributed by The Final Girls – a UK-based film collective focused on exploring feminist themes in horror cinema and highlighting the work of women in horror both in front and behind the camera – we recently checked out all the films in this year’s line-up, which is currently touring UK cinemas.

CATCALLS

First up was Catcalls, written and directed by Kate Dolan. Kicking things off with an attention grabber, Catcalls is about a man cruising the Irish streets in his car late at night, asking women for directions and then masturbating in front of them for a kick. But this particular night the drive-by wanker’s uppance is coming after he targets the wrong two young girls.

Catcalls is snappy and jumpy morality tale, with great subtle effects work and some crisp Cundy-esque photography of the foggy Irish streets. It also features an awesome credits song by “Bitch Falcon” – who I love immediately.

 

HAIR WOLF

Written and directed by Mariama Diallo, Hair Wolf is about the staff of a black hair salon fending off a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture.

It’s a vivid and vicious picking at cultural appropriation for Likes that is funny and right-on and full of kick-ass barnets and bad ju-ju. It looks gorgeous too, with lively colour pops throughout a flashy film that brings new meaning to a photo being “viral”.

 

PUPPET MASTER

A Finnish production directed Hanna Bergholm, Puppet Master is about a lonely and isolated woman who meets a mysterious stranger in a bar, follows him back to his marionette workshop and allows him to transform her into a puppet.

An artier offering than the previous films, Puppet Master is beautiful, sad and eerie and features some fantastic choreography and stunning puppetry in a brutalist environment.

 

INSEYED

The very short sting-in-the-tail Inseyed is a twisted and twisting stunning stop-motion animation directed by Jessica Hudak about a girl who hears mysterious noises and investigates.

A perfect example of the short film form that gets in and out quickly and very memorably, Inseyed’s off-kilter production design will disorient you before pulling the rug out from under you.

 

THE LADY FROM 406

The Lady from 406 is a South Korean joint, helmed by Lee Kyoung. In a large apartment complex, a woman on an upper floor is struggling to deal with the combined stresses of her missing daughter and a creepy housebound hikikomori downstairs neighbour whose cigarette smoke comes through her vents.

This one is an eerie and elegant headscratcher that plays like a condensed Twilight Zone episode and will leave you with plenty to talk about after.

 

#EATPRETTY

Back to the UK for #EATPRETTY, which is directed by Rebecca Culversome.

Anna is a successful product photographer, striving for a life filled with perfect moments, inspired by a constant stream of social media feeds, sponsored blogs and fairytales playing on her computer.

Told purely via an Instagram square, #EATPRETTY manages to tell a timely tale of influencer horror that gets under your skin using only a handful of perfectly crafted shots that feature the bare minimum of movement.

 

BLOOD RUNS DOWN

The atmospheric deep South chiller, Blood Runs Down is directed by Zandashé Brown that follows a mother and daughter preparing on the eve of the girl’s birthday in a house lit only by candles post-storm.

Mom has not been sleeping properly for a long time, so when her five-year-old daughter starts playing up tensions become fraught and harboured resentments overflow in this timey-wimey short that features two excellent performance and an anxious atmosphere heightened by some clever use of shadow play.

 

CERULIA

More stop-motion animation in the penultimate film by director Sofia Carillo: Cerulia. A Mexican spine-shudder with a hint of Coraline about it. Cerulia returns to her childhood home to find that it is haunted by her memories in this dark and messed up tale of an imaginary friend that is full of nightmarish and skin-crawling visuals that you’ll still see when you shut your eyes.

 

GOODNIGHT

Speaking of shutting your eyes, last up was Goodnight, written and directed by Diane Michelle. Seen through a faux Super 8 matte with an irised-off black square frame with rounded corners, Goodnight looks like a family film – but these aren’t memories that any household would want to treasure.

It’s bedtime and after putting their daughter to bed a husband and wife retire to their room before hearing some weird noises and voices across the hall, which may have something to do with Billy – the man who lives under their daughter’s bed.

With a sinister score by Joseph Trapanese – who could already drop his work into a Blumhouse feature tomorrow – Goodnight is an upsetting and unsettling mini-feature that will definitely be stopping you have any sweet dreams after.

Vital and highly recommended, We Are The Weirdos 2019 is an exciting peek at emerging female voices in the horror genre that will keep you on the edge of your seat and on the lookout for more from these international female masters of horror.

You should definitely check out this superior short film showcase if you have the chance and We Are The Weirdos 2019 is currently touring UK cinemas, with the following dates still left to play:

 

24th February – Rio Cinema, London

27th February – Film Theatre, Glasgow – screening at Glasgow Film Fest

27th February – Tyneside, Newcastle

28th February – Genesis, London

28th February – Plaza Stockport, Manchester  – Grimmfest monthly screenings

28th February – Broadway, Nottingham

 

To find out more, check out www.thefinalgirls.co.uk, and to keep up-to-date with We Are The Weirdos and what The Final Girls are up to, you can follow:

 

@thefinalgirlsuk

#weareweirdos

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