SXSW Film Review: Midnight Shorts

The best of the fest's late night micro-horrors

SXSW’s Midnight Shorts earned a buzz screening this year: Something completely unheard of at any festival. Compared to the other short film blocks, this genre-heavy roster was sprinkled with big-name talent, from producer David Gordon Green (“Bronzed”) to horror starlet Maika Monroe (“How to Be Alone”). Here are some of the highlights.

“Right Place, Wrong Tim”
Who knew Asa Butterfield had great comedic timing like this? (There is a joke here, and you will understand it later.) Director Eros Vlahos doesn’t rely on his star power to create a punchy short packed with clever puns and even better kills. “Right Place, Wrong Tim” has the goods to be an internet classic much like “Great Choice,” the trippy Red Lobster genre short starring Carrie Coon (which if you haven’t watched that one, please do so immediately).

“Deep Tissue”
Have you ever watched The Silence of the Lambs (or more recently, Raw) and thought, “Maybe cannibalism is kind of sexy?” Director Meredith Alloway stars in her own sensual short that explores the unique fetish in a delicate manner. It perfectly builds, and you can feel Alloway’s nervous excitement progressively rise as her house call makes preparations for their alone time.

“First Kiss”
Austin staple Emily Hagins directs a terrifically terrifying short that fits perfectly into her oeuvre of young adult horror films. With J-Horror elements, Hagins explores the nerve-racking anxiety of kissing someone you’ve a mad crush on for the first time. The editing is sleek, the jump scares are delightful, and the ghostly makeup is appropriately creepy.

”Other Side of the Box”
This jury-winning short gives off a “Lights Out” vibe, where its primary focus is not its characters, but rather the stylized scares. While its thin plot feels relatively underdeveloped, it’s the perfect calling card for an aspiring horror director because it exhibits a decent amount of creative scares in a neat 15 minutes. It’s a lot of unpack, but it’s worth diving into. (Please refrain from all your “What’s in the box?” jokes now.)

Midnight Shorts

Shorts Program

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SXSW Film 2019, Midnighters, Midnight Shorts, Emily Hagins

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