Fear is an Option – Short Film Program

Fear is an Option [a play on the VIS motto of Fear is not an Option] was a collection of horror short films curated (among others) by the /slash Filmfestival as part of the VIS Vienna Independent Shorts film festival. They showed the following short films:
The Simpsons Couch Gag [You’re Next] (2015)
Directed and written by: Lee Hardcastle
[Can be watched here.]
The Chickening (2015)
Directed and written by: Nick DenBoer, Davy Force
Based on: The Shining
[Can be watched here.]
Invaders (2014)
Directed and written by: Jason Kupfer
Cast: Ricky Wayne, Jordan Woods-Robinson
[Can be watched here.]
Jack Attack (2013)
Directed and written by: Bryan Norton, Antonio Padovan
Cast: Helen Rogers, Tyler Rossell, Steve Anderson Jr.
Monster (2005)
Directed and written by: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Susan Prior, Luke Ikimis-Healey, Trash Vaudeville
[Can be watched here.]
One Last Dive (2013)
Directed and written by: Jason Eisener
Cast: Catherine Maltais, Peter Allen
[Can be watched here.]
Polaroid (2015)
Directed and written by: Lars Klevberg
Cast: Annika Witt, Thea Sofie Loch Næss, Anne Cloetta
Baskin (2013)
Directed and written by: Can Evrenol, Co-Directed by: Ogulcan Eren Akay
Cast: Muharrem Bayrak, Fadik Bülbül, Gorkem Kasal, Aydin Orak, Remzi Pamukcu
Lights Out (2013)
Directed and written by: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Lotta Losten
[Can be watched here.]
Seen on: 29.5.2016

They put together a strong collection of short films here, some of which were connected to the /slash Filmfestival – where they did show You’re Next, the basis for the Simpsons Couch Gag; both Baskin and Monster were turned into feature films that were also part of the festival program – Baskin and The Babadook respectively; and Jason Eisener had segments in V/H/S 2 and The ABCs of Death, where Lee Hardcastle also made an appearance. The short films ranged from very funny and silly to outright terrifying and most of them were really effective, even if not all worked for me.

fearisanoption

[After the jump I’ll talk about each of the films individually.]

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Body (2015)

Body
Director: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen
Writer: Robert Olsen, Dan Berk
Cast: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, Larry Fessenden, Adam Cornelius
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Holly (Helen Rogers), Cali (Alexandra Turshen) and Mel (Lauren Molina) have been friends forever and are spending Christmas together. Cali is not satisfies with hanging out at Mel’s house though and suggests they go to her uncle’s home, who is out for the Christmas holidays. Reluctantly both Holly and Mel agree. The girls have a good time until Holly realizes that they don’t actually have permission to be in the house, just as somebody is coming to check on it.

Body starts strong and then falls apart once the plot actually gets going. What a waste of nice characters.

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V/H/S (2012)

V/H/S (it’s a horror anthology with the following segments)
Segment Tape 56
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Kentucker Audley, Adam Wingard
Segment Amateur Night
Director: David Bruckner
Writer: David Bruckner, Nicholas Tecosky
Cast: Mike Donlan, Joe Sykes, Drew Sawyer, Hannah Fierman
Segment Second Honeymoon
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil
Segment Tuesday The 17th
Director: Glenn McQuaid
Writer: Glenn McQuaid
Cast: Norma C. Quinones, Drew Moerlein, Jeannine Elizabeth Yoder, Jason Yachanin
Segment The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger
Director: Joe Swanberg
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Helen Rogers, Daniel Kaufman
Segment 10/31/98
Director: Radio Silence (aka Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella)
Writer: Radio Silence (aka Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella)
Cast: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Chad Villella, Paul Natonek
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

[Trigger Warning]

Plot:
A group of young men (Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Kentucker Audley, Adam Wingard) who make their money with sexually assaulting women are hired to retrieve a mysterious video tape from an apparently empty house that is filled with video tapes. As they don’t know which tape to take, they start packing them all up. While they do that, one by one they start watching the tapes that are filled with horrifying found footage.

The quality of the segments varies wildly, but the general framing is pretty weak. Generally I’m afraid that my expectations were just way too high – even though I’m not a fan of found footage in general, I had heard only good things and how scary it was, but the movie just doesn’t live up to that.

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