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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V/H/S/2 (2013)

V/H/S/2 (it’s a horror anthology with the following segments and a sequel to: V/H/S)
Segment Tape 49
Director: Simon Barrett
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Lawrence Michael Levine, Kelsy Abbott
Segment Phase I Clinical Trials
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Adam Wingard, Hannah Hughes
Segment A Ride in the Park
Director: Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sánchez
Writer: Jamie Nash, Eduardo Sánchez
Cast: Jay Saunders
Segment Safe Haven
Director: Gareth Evans , Timo Tjahjanto
Writer: Gareth Evans , Timo Tjahjanto
Cast: Fachry Albar, Hannah Al Rashid, Oka Antara, Epy Kusnandar
Segment Slumber Party Alien Abduction
Director: Jason Eisener
Writer: Jason Eisener, John Davies
Cast: Rylan Logan, Samantha Gracie, Zack Ford, Josh Ingraham, Cohen King
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Private Investigator Larry (Lawrence Michael Levine) is sent after a missing boy. He stumbles upon a weird house full of VHS tapes where his partner Ayesha (Kelsy Abbott) starts watching a few while he checks out the rest of the house.
The first tape is the recording from an artificial eye, just activated in Herman (Adam Wingard) who not only starts seeing again at all, but even things that aren’t actually there.
The second tape is the helmet cam of a biker (Jay Saunders) who gets attacked by zombies in the woods.
The third tape shows film material from the inside of a sect’s compound where things are coming to a head.
The fourth tape shows a group of kids who are home alone when strange creatures come from out of the lake.

V/H/S 2 was a whole lot better than V/H/S which, honestly, wasn’t very hard to do. They cut down the framing (which makes the still-remaining question of WHY VIDEOTAPES less apparent), on the gratuitous boobs (though there’s still too much of them) and on the general length, which all works in its favor.

V-H-S-2

More about each segment after the jump.

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The ABCs of Death (2012)

The ABCs of Death
Director: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Hélène Cattet, Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani, Adrián García Bogliano, Xavier Gens, Lee Hardcastle, Noboru Iguchi, Thomas Cappelen Malling, Jorge Michel Grau, Anders Morgenthaler, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Jon Schnepp, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Yudai Yamaguchi
Part of: /slash Filmfestival‘s Slashing Europe
[I’m saving myself from mentioning the cast as well, especially since, apart from Ingrid Bolsø Berdal there wasn’t anybody in it I knew anyway.]

Plot:
The ABCs of Death is an episode movie in which 26 directors each got a letter in the alphabet to which they chose a word from which they built their story/short film.

The ABCs of Death has its good moments, but far from all episodes were my thing. There is a surprising amount of toilet humor in the movie (which I minded less than I usually do, but still) and I generally had my issues with the structure. 26 short films are a lot to take in and I would have appreciated if the movie was broken up into two parts (A-L and M-Z or something). Also, because of the alphabetic structure, they couldn’t take the mood or the pacing into consideration, so funny is followed by sadness by gore by blood by horror by funny etc. So maybe one should be watching the entire movie in short film increments.

The-ABCs-of-Death

[After the jump, I’ll talk briefly about each of the short films seperately. If you consider knowing the words already as SPOILERS, don’t read any further.]

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