Close Your Eyes, Review by Case Wright


Happy Halloween, once again my friends! I know many of you read my posts for the extremes. Really, who cares about the 3 Star Amazon Reviews?! It’s all about the love or the rage. This short did not scare me, but the writer and director has some talent. There’s actually no writer listed; so, it fits that it felt like improv. The story has a beginning, middle, and end. It is satisfying. Although this is a middle of the road short, come on keep reading because my last post helped you avoid Space Herpes! You owe me!!!

Vincent and Martin are roommates. Vincent sees his roommate sleepwalking and figures why not talk to him? I’m not sure what he expected of his half-asleep roommate, but apparently he’s communicating with an evil spirit with serious OCD. The half-asleep Martin has his ear against the door and says that “She will tell you secrets if I listen at the door.” Vincent tries it, ah….Martin corrects him- “you have to close your eyes.” My first response would be: Why the F#@& do I have to take orders from some ASMR whispering cretin in my own GD house- you melatonin addict?! I get the wanting to communicate with other side, but what’s with all the pre-requisites?! I’ve already had Differential Equations; so, tell your Evil Spirit Guidance Counselor to go #&*% and other various Q-Bert symbols!

I’m gonna spoil this a little because…. you know what you did! Vincent runs into the monster in the kitchen and she’s… super bendy and naked, which I guess is scary. I’d just be like take your best shot; you-not-showered-for-a-week-orthopedic-nightmare-somehow-forever-damp-naked- #$^& B@!! She’s obviously got bone issues. You have the greater reach!

He does pick up a guitar and try to fight, but defeats him with …… ASMR?! Is she reciting Goodnight Moon?

One note, what’s with the Darkness?! I can barely see what’s happening in films now with the lighting so low?! I’m not sure if he dies here or if she’s just a close talker. In any case, the film’s over and it basically is an ad for getting a deadbolt.

It Came Nameless in Spring, Review by Case Wright


Happy Halloween! I really tried to contribute as much as possible this year. I’ve been beaten down by really really hard engineering classes and a Professor who shows up slurring words- Bombed. It’s annoying/sad. However, this short film is neither annoying, nor sad. I didn’t know that a person could make an alien invasion boring, but here we are.

There are survivors fighting and killing each other over basic staples. There’s a husband and wife, but he’s ill!!!! So, his wife goes on the hunt for medicine. What medicine? Who knows? Also, how would she know what to give him or how much? These questions aren’t raised or answered. She enters a supposedly empty home and fights the owner in the dumbest way possible. She knocks the owner down, but turns her back on her because it’s gotta be stupid.

I can’t stand morons! I was yelling at my computer screen the whole time and not in a good way. Listen, it’s either the apocalypse or not. If the aliens are killing everybody, you either fight or jump to your doom because chances are they will eat us. They’re not here to fall in love with us.

I was always weirded out by Mass Effect that way; Shepard is way to eager to jump at an alien species. We just got exposed to coronavirus, does this horny weirdo think that this hot blue alien wouldn’t have some sort of virus? She’s from another planet, you degenerate weirdo! Things evolved there and it wasn’t us! At the very least, she’ll give you an alien cold sore that’s probably sapient! Alien herpes, there’s not enough Blistex in the world to fight that!

Back to my boring short film, you eventually see the floating alien, which is a big jellyfish. This is just dumb; I can suspend some disbelief for a spaceship, but you’re serving up a big Man-of-War jellyfish to take out humanity. We could just all pee on it! Problem solved!!! I’m sorry, things just float about in the air- stop it! I get Brian Otting slept through physics, but come on – haven’t you ever been on a plane before?! I review something else! I can’t let this be the last of Halloween!

RUN! Short Film Review by Case Wright


Normally, I would have all kinds of tags about the filmmaker and actors, but I can’t find any. There are far too many “RUNS!”. I didn’t know that the horror short of “a woman being chased while jogging with her headphones on” wasn’t as much of a subgenre as much as it was a meme.

Not to say that running alone with your headphones on is not an extremely dangerous activity- IT IS! However, do we really need 30+ shorts of this same thing?

HOW ABOUT NO?

They were trying to be funny, but they ended up being kinda scary. I know they didn’t mean to do it, but it failed up. I was unsettled by it. It’s also possible that I’m burned out from too many Alex Magana films and by studying this all day:

Yes, I know to solve this… mostly. Slow down ladies, there’s enough Case for everyone.

I know many of you are thinking: sure steam generators are hot and sexy and all, but we’re here for the short-film review and now I’m all sweaty. Fine, I’m here for it.

This film creeped me out because it’s too much like real life. When I moved across the country, I was alone except for my cat- Love you, wherever you are. I would see signs in Montana- Next Services 250 Miles. I realized that if my truck broke down, I’d die here or if some psycho disabled my vehicle, I’d be lost forever and ever. The actress’ vulnerable got to me. I mean Without a Trace had 9 Seasons – that’s According to Jim territory. Point is, we’re not as safe as we want to believe that we are. We could vanish. We are at the mercy of the social contract, but not everyone is a party to it.

This short tapped into that. It failed, but it did fail up.

Smiling Woman 2, Review by Case Wright


Well Alex, here we are…again. I guess the demon-lady’s still smiling and will break dance her way into another murder-hug. Why can’t she visit me prior to watching this short? Come and get me!!!

We open with a parking garage and a business woman walking alone. Note: I can’t know this for sure without looking her up on imdb, but the actress seems really short. In fact, she doesn’t look much taller than the wastebasket next to the pillar in the parking garage.

Help me….*she squeaked*

I don’t know why Alex had the wastebasket in the shot; it gave her scale and made her so tiny. I will give Alex credit that he cast Ariel Fullinwider again, but now in the role of the smiling woman because it gives us the lifecycle of the creature. It goes around trying on flesh like “rent a runway”; so, it’s like a “rent a skin suit” *working corporate name*.

This whole skin suit thing doesn’t work for me in terms of Conservation of Mass, NO. Matter can neither be created or destroyed and this victim is really short; so, I don’t think the skin suit will work. Mathematically, it’s proven from this straight forward differential equation:

row= density, t= time, delta = divergence, and V= fluid velocity.

Basically, you can’t put a normal sized lady into smaller lady without it looking like a Michelin Man.

Depiction

Alex could’ve called and we could’ve worked through these partial derivatives together. Listen, I know what some of you are saying:

Case, you could’ve just shown me a straight-forward integral:

The change in Mass (M) of the monster about absorb short-lady would have to expand in mass and it wouldn’t matter how long you took. Monster Smiling Lady + Short Lady = Bigger Monster Lady because the total mass can’t change. Maybe she pooped the little lady out? No, I tell you, NO because she’s going from big to small; there is NO WAY that little lady could poo that much skin suit wearing monster. It fails in so many ways.

Furthermore, the whole “Breakin 2” monster moves is weird and the second lady gets absorbed with a smile-face with no mathematical proof to undue my clear and exciting explanation above. Alex does not get to break a fundamental law of physics because he’s not good at things. I get it the monster’s gotta eat or whatever, but there’d still be leftovers- an “Ariel Fullinwider To Go bag” if you will. Alex- you’re on notice!

BOOM!

Smiling Woman, Review by Case Wright


Alex Magana…we meet again. I get that you must punish me, but these actresses are sometimes pretty good, can’t you spare them? No? Fine. Smiling Woman… wait…. Alex, you made two of these “Smiling Woman” films?! On Purpose? This is gonna be a rough day.

A lady is waiting for public transportation, which is really a bad idea. The bright spot of this film is that it discourages the use of public transportation because some monster break dancer will murder you while wearing a summer dress. On that note, I’m all for it. You’re so much safer in a gas powered SUV – EVs stop working when its cold; so, a large SUV that gets 3 miles to the gallon will give you MAXIMUM SAFETY- That’s Just Science! Thanks, Alex! We agree.

The short opens with a commuter-lady waiting for an above ground subway and a casually dressed demon with a part/bangs-hybrid hairstyle decides that this is the evening to murder-hug a commuter. The demon has an off-the-shoulder thing working for her, but I don’t know if that’s an evil thing or a That’s So Last Season kinda thing.

You can be murdered in a lot of ways, I guess? We don’t really see the commuter-lady die, but at the very least she was hugged and NOT in the slap you on the back fun hug. It was a hug hug- the hug we now know is a prelude for murder….probably.

Omegle, Review by Case Wright


You know, I’m a good person, but somehow though, Alex Magana has inadvertently become my Moriarty: my archnemesis. See, he doesn’t know it, but I’m in a pickle. I need to consistently do brilliant reviews this October- for every day as best as I am able, AND also prepare for my second round of mid-terms as I rocket towards my Senior Year of Engineering, all the while being a Super Handsome Italian Dad.

N.B., I would like to review features; ideally, live tweeting them with the TSL staff and other great people. Until that day, I have….Alex Magana. He has an abundance of fun-sized short horror films and because of my constant time crunch these wee Rabbit-Raisinets are impossible to ignore. Here I am….reviewing ANOTHER Alex Magana film….ok… here it comes.

Omegle is an actual company that, as far as I can tell, wants to bring serial killers and their victims together. It’s business is to allow people to NOT register on the site and randomly pair you to video chat with any random psycho in the whole wide world. This short plays up on the obvious conclusion for this terrible terrible business. A nice, but lonely lady is paired to chat with a random person. This random person does evil magic tricks and puts her into the upside-down or some such mishigas.

Alex is really hot on people being attacked in their safe spaces. His films are a true commitment to obviousness! He is to filmmaking what Popsicle Stick Jokes are to comedy. This is our fault. We allow Alex to make films. Really, how tall could he be? Four or Five us could wrest the camera from him and if he’s really short, we could hold it over his head and say, Mine Now!!!

We allow Omegle to exist too for some stupid reason and of course some evil magician from the IT Department starts whacking people. Didn’t we always know that IT guys were psychopath magicians? Who wakes up soaked with flop sweat from an epiphany-fever-dream and exclaims, “I shall network strangers to Windows 12…TODAY, I TELL YOU WORLD, TODAY!!!!

Whether it’s Omegle or Alex, the fault is not in the stars, it is in our inability to hold him down and stop him from filming.

Thirsty, Review by Case Wright


Huh? Ok, this was….terrible. I can’t put my finger on what part of this was more terrible: the acting, story, or visuals? Well, it’s all craptastic. Why don’t they think of me before they film something so stupid? He must know that someone will have to review this garbage trash and it will probably be me.

Alex Magana is a hit or miss filmmaker and WOW does he use the shotgun over pistol technique. It’s like a firehose of content spraying all over your face- sometimes the water gets into your mouth, refreshing your artistic interest, but other times, it powerfully shoots out an eyeball and you hope for death. His films are like that.

Luckily, Magana’s films are rarely over four-minutes; so, your misery is brief like when a dentist has a good grip with her pliers and yanks out that infected tooth of yours. Yeah, there’s pus and a brackish fluid flowing from your gum socket that used to house your back molar and you can’t help but taste the brackish fluid and later when they debride the rotten gum tissue and there’s a smell of rotting bacon, you know that it’s over. Magana’s films are like that: sometimes it’s like getting a cleaning from the flirty hygienist and other times, it’s all about the rotting bacon gums.

Thirsty was a rotting bacon gums experience, but if you’re into that- Watch below.

Missing, Review By Case Wright


I wanted to include some picture or poster for this, but I can’t because nothing exists. Leave it to me to enjoy something that no one else does. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Apparently, it came out in 2020 and no one liked it. Well, that all changed today because I liked it and that’s what matters!

A woman finds out that she’s missing. This film is two minutes of your life and it’s a fun two minutes. I recommend you take a pause and enjoy it!

Selfie From Hell, Review by Case Wright


A woman takes a selfie at home and there is a man/figure behind her who she can only see in her phone. Twist: he’s a reverse vampire… sort of. I’m not sure. This is a great example of a great short. It’s cheap, quick, and scary. I was unnerved and jumped a bit. There were only 3 words of dialogue; so, it was all showing not telling, which is good because they are German and I don’t speak the language.

This is the fear of the invasion of your personal safe space. It’s part of us because if we don’t have it, we’d die.

Must Watch!

Witch Hunt, Review by Case Wright


Oof

I know many of you wonderful readers must think that I’m rooting for failure. I really want artists to do a good job and not be terrible. The short film is the farm team for many writers, directors, and actors. It forces you to have a clear idea, vibrant characters, be economical with your dialogue, and how to show not tell. This short was 8 minutes and change and it was awesome for the first four minutes. Then…..

The film has a great hook: without any dialogue, we see that the MC is a Twitter troll. He gets a knock at the door. She’s a pilgrim at the door and he proceeds to creep on her in at least three ways. This is a good setup. Then, a witch hunter from the past appears at the creep’s door with an arrest warrant. I’m getting a great twilight zone feel.

The artist shifts gears with a twist that it’s two of his Internet victims in Party City outfits who want to hang him. Then, they hang him. This is so anti-climatic. I get that he murdered their reputations so they murder him IRL. I could see this happening. If someone is recording someone to make them infamous, I could see someone thinking- well I might as well kill this guy. We always work under the assumption that people will play by the rules. This is a stupid way to be because we have obvious examples that it’s not true i.e. Road Rage.

The reveal didn’t pop the narrative suspense balloon with a bang, it deflated it … slowly and sadly. It was more fun for the pilgrims to be ghosts summoned for revenge than two people with a grudge who would be easily caught. Maybe….Maybe, it could have worked if it were clearer through a scene or two what this man had done that warranted his murder. The heroine did mumble something about what he did, but it was rushed exposition. It did not feel justified.

The writer grasped the idea that a payoff is critical in a story and especially a short, but to have a payoff – you need a pay-in. We did get the idea that the MC was a jerk, BUT hanging a man on his porch and seeing his asphyxiated face was not earned. Revenge stories are great, but the target has to be more than a jerk. We need to be clear with a slow burn that this man had harmed the killers so greatly that we agree with them that this guy needed killing. It felt unfair, not disturbing. It felt awkward and disappointing.

It’s a shame because the writer has some talent, but not enough.