Dir. Matthew T. Price (2020)
A woman looks for the perfect dance partner.
I came across this short on the horror subreddit about three years ago and bookmarked it, having watched it at the time and knowing I wanted to eventually revisit it at a later point. As I'm starting a new Short Film Saturday, I knew it was the perfect time to dust this one off and share it with those who would appreciate it. A beautiful short about love, loss, and reconnection, it works perfectly within its brief runtime to both shock and sadden its audience.
The widowed Lilith (Shannon Kraemer) is a dancer, and she forms an immediate connection with new partner Steven (Caleb Harris). The two quickly move on to a different kind of partnership, sharing a bed together as their studio tango contrasts with their passionate twist. When Steven finds a photo of his lover with another man hidden on the bedside table, he hurriedly dismisses it in the hopes of continuing his relationship. Lilith, however, wants him, body and soul, and she might have a more nefarious purpose for inviting him into her home.
Danse Macabre is an excellent short, running just six minutes and perfectly telling the tale of a love lost and recaptured, connections made and broken. Kraemer and Harris are perfectly vulnerable, delivering excellent performances as new lovers attempting to resurrect an old flame. Director Matthew T. Price does an excellent job of packing a powerful and emotional punch with such little to work with, contrasting dance with sex in an expertly weaved tapestry of desire and grief.
The one downside is the sound, most notably the dialogue between the two star-crossed lovers. The music is wonderfully applied, fitting with the scenes perfectly, but the echoey vocals are the film's only weak point. The shifting aspect ratio can be jarring if that's something that bugs you, but there's a point to even that: Price is attempting to show the connection between the two and its severance, reflected in the film's quickly shifting form.
In the end, Danse Macabre is a film that never overstays its welcome and one that will stick with you. You really can't ask for much more from a short, and this one is done with precision and impact. Price has made other shorts as well, and I'm excited to seek them out for further editions of this segment. I expect we'll be seeing bright things in his future.
Who this film is for: Short horror lovers, Emotional horror fans, Dance teachers
Bottom line: Quick and to the point, but what a point it is. Danse Macabre is an excellent short from director Matthew T. Price, and stars Shannon Kraemer and Caleb Harris are exposed and perfect in their roles as the dancer and her "beau." You can check out the short on Vimeo for free, and I highly recommend that you do so. Be warned, it is very not safe for work, so do so from the comfort of your own home if possible.