Trigger Warning Collection: Boston Underground Film Festival Shorts
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
A collection of shorts from around the world, including the USofA. Strange, disturbing, even… sexy? You never know what you’re going to get from the Trigger Warning series.
Side note: there are a couple of shorts missing from here that I didn’t have access to for some reason or other. Delivery by Imanol Ortiz Lopez and Fop Wash by Sylvea Suydam are for festival attendees only for now!
Dir. Zahm Waters (2023)Dir. Zahm Waters (2023)
I don’t know if this movie was actually created entirely by AI as it is claimed to be, but it is hilarious and effective all the same. The AI phenomenon disturbs the hell out of me, and this one is no different. It’s just off, something wrong about the whole thing regardless of who made it. Either way, if it was actually intended to be a commercial showing us the kinds of films that AI can make, I’m all the fuck in, because it looks amazing. AI filmmaking may never win an Oscar, but it still looks better than 90% of the shit out there. Great short and definitely worth your time.
Dir. Zach Fleming (2023)
On a dare, a young man travels to the burned down house of a local legend. There, he finds that some scary stories are real. Mickey Dogface is prototypical scary story, one of the more straightforward entries in the festival and pretty well done. This is another one that could’ve used a longer runtime, I’d love to see the story stretched out a bit more. Well-acted though, it’s a pretty cool little film.
Dir. Julien Jauniaux (2023)
A tale of revenge focuses on a tech CEO who has murdered his wife. This artistic black-and-white short is excellent, reminiscent of Begotten without as much oddity or the works of Brakhage without the social import. It’s well-made and thought-provoking, but to such an extent that I’m not entirely sure how to feel about it. It’s interesting though, and Jauniaux has quite a bit of talent behind the lens.
Dir. Bryan R. Ferguson (2023)
You find a tape that says “Do Not Listen.” Do you listen? Bryan Ferguson’s short deals with this subject, and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but rules are made to be broken. Super short, super quick, and with some awesome effects, Earworm is a great one to sink your teeth into if you only have like two minutes to spare. Check this one out if you get the chance.
Dir. Kam Duv (2023)
A clever allegory for abuse, director Kam Duv’s short Bond is everything you want in a short: the actors do a fantastic job, the story is brief and complete, and there are some downright gorgeous shots in here. The world is full of monsters, if only we had these badass gals to save us. This is another one that you ought to give a look.
Dir. Simon Michael Valentine (2023)
Primal and, well, kinda gross, Simon Michael Valentine’s Tistlebu is a Norwegian folk horror short that feels like a feature already, despite it’s short runtime. At just 17 minutes, it feels complete. Nature is a commodity, but not here, not where it still reigns supreme. This one feels like it should be immediately picked up by Shudder, and it may well be. Valentine is going to make a lot of people really happy in the future.
Dir. Jim Vendiola (2023)
Wow. I don’t know what I was expecting, but what a dark, twisted journey this one was. Jim Vendiola’s story is the darkest I’ve seen from BUFF yet, and while it has a few shortcomings, it more than makes up for them with the ending. Loved it, and I’d love to see more from him. Feels shorter than it is, which is always a great thing when the shorts are on the longer side, and it’s got some of the best imagery of any short so far. Great film.