The SHORTS TO FEAR collection is compiled of four works, each with their own style, and all more twisted and unsettling than the last.
The first short, DEAD SEASONS (MORTE STAGIONI) is an Italian tale from director Pietro Porporati which, unfortunately, felt slightly bland and entirely un-scary. The ghosts who must remain in their home as it changes around them has been done before, with feature-length examples in BEETLEJUICE (1988) and THE OTHERS (2001). However, the strained relationship between mother and daughter was interesting, but not enough to save the film.
MISSING (SAVNET) is from Danish director Mads Reuther and follows an elderly psychic who uses his powers to find missing persons but, in doing so, his familial relationships suffer. Again, this also feels familiar but misses the mark of being scary despite being, in and of itself, still intriguing.
From UK director Stefan Georgiou comes THE DEAD ONES, an interesting original take on the idea of a ghost following their murderer. After a hit and run, the driver not only has to deal with her own grief but also the resentment of her victim’s ghastly manifestation. She discovers that she is not the only one who is haunted by their past misdeeds and that there may be a way out through less than pleasant means.
The best was saved until the end: MADAME, a grotesque French satire about a sophisticated elderly lady who is still listening to her deceased father a little too often. MADAME had the audience laughing sinisterly throughout as Madame’s actions got more and more outlandish and malicious. Madame takes respecting your elders a little too far – as per her father’s demands, Madame reacts with hostility towards anyone and everyone whom she feels disrespects her or her general peace and quiet.
Overall, while none of the shorts could be considered to be particularly frightening, they certainly were entertaining and had the audience laughing right through.