Dir. Alex DiVincenzo (2020)
After an injury, a man returns to his childhood bedroom and finds his old childhood fears coming back to haunt him.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I've mentioned this a few times in my reviews, but I was totally a chickenshit as a kid. I used to have this recurring nightmare (or at least I guess it was a nightmare) where I would see a witch walk by my open bedroom door at night, her pointy hat cast into shadows by the hall light that I insisted be left on all night long. This was in addition to the fact that I would never just "get into bed," having to launch myself practically from my door so that I would never be within range of whatever was lurking under my bed. At some point in my early childhood, I must have seen somebody get yoinked under the bed during an old black and white movie, and it was one of my earliest formative memories that turned me into a daredevil for years afterward.
It is on that topic of childhood fears and their associations with the rooms in which we grow up that director Alex DiVincenzo bases his 2020 short The Nurturing, about a young man named Daniel (Anthony Gaudette) who has injured his leg and must return to his childhood bedroom to be nursed back to health by his mother (Marty Smith). Normally, he'd be staying with his girlfriend Sophie (Hannah Fierman from V/H/S), but she's at a conference and only avialable via video call. Unfortunately for Daniel, he is about to learn that the things we grew up being afraid of don't leave the nest when we do.
The Nurturing is a barebones indie short, sitting at a lean seven minute runtime and taking place almost entirely in one room. While it's not quite as scary as DiVincenzo's previous short that I reviewed, Reverberance, these callbacks to our kinder trauma struck a chord with me, and to be honest I can't imagine too much scarier than the thought that there might be something lurking under my bed. DiVincenzo does a great job of scratching that primordial itch, taking me back to the only part of my childhood that I don't particularly miss. This is why everyone should sleep on the floor.
Who this short is for: Short horror fans, Indie horror lovers, People with platform beds
Bottom line: Quick and with a burst of throwback terror, The Nurturing is a thrifty little indie horror short that manages to make something actually creepy on a shoestring budget. I've always said that it's not the dark that scares you, but rather the fear of what might be in the dark. The Nurturing explores this theory with a quiet confidence, and it's a short that is well worth a watch. Check it out on Youtube!