For those who enjoy pairing their scares with laughs, The Blood in the Snow Film Festival’s 2019 program features a shorts showcase devoted to horror-comedy. From lovesick thieves to babysitting mishaps to unexpected murder, the 90-minute programming block promises a variety of content geared towards an audience with a taste for the lighter side of horror.
Looking for a few good reasons to attend? Here are some standout highlights:
One Last Last Heist (Dir. Darrin Rose)
Everyone needs a little love in their life—even armed robbers. Especially armed robbers still heartbroken from a devastating break-up. Retired robber Cormac (Darrin Rose) is still reeling from being suddenly left by the love of his life (Ava Julien). When he gets a call from his former associate Ramesh (Suresh John) inviting him to take part in one last, last heist, he has no idea that he is being set up for a very complicated (and not-quite) meet-cute…set to happen mid-heist. Will love conquer all? Will crime actually pay? While its moral message may be a little on the questionable side, One Last Last Heist is an amusing delight with great performances, genuine laughs, and heartwarming premise.
The Trainee (Dir. Ryan Couldrey)
The superhero genre takes a turn for the (even more) absurd in The Trainee, a short film by Toronto-based filmmaker Ryan Couldrey. Created as a 48 Hour Film Project, the short boasts a tight and confident script, some fun make-up and effects, and effective set design. Marcella Young stars as The Enforcer, a vigilante antihero interrogating rival archvillain Edison (Bryan Quintero) in order to save the life of a young boy. Unfortunately for The Enforcer, it happens to be the first day of her naïve and possibly underqualified trainee sidekick, portrayed by Kira Hall. Comedy ensues! Much of the film’s charm stems from the obvious fun the actors are having; Quintero and Hall are particular standouts as the disdainful prisoner and the daffy newbie, but Young also turns in a strong performance as the gritty lead with beaucoup punching power but little patience.
Asking for a Friend (Dir. Kelsey Bollig)
Sometimes, you just want to come home and eat nachos after a stressful day at work, but you wind up having to deal with a mysterious corpse and an expectedly homicidal soulmate. Tale as old as time, happens to the best of us, etc. In Asking for a Friend, Blake (Jacqueline Bell) faces that all-too-common dilemma when she returns home to find roommate and BFF (or possibly girlfriend?) Q (Victoria Lacoste) hovering over a dead body and a puddle of blood. What’s a girl to do? The answer turns out to be more complicated than expected, as Blake’s night takes some twisted and unexpected turns as she struggles to deal with this new reality. The short offers quite a bit of queer representation in the form of some charismatic and wild neighbours, although the relationship between the two female leads remains a little ambiguous.
Long Pig (Dir. Nikolas Benn)
Never judge a job listing only by its posted salary. That is a valuable lesson learned by an ex-con in this short horror-comedy, which takes place entirely during an interview for a seemingly-tempting position. Well-acted and featuring a clever (if unappetizing) twist, the short makes the current job market even more terrifying, which I didn’t know was possible.
Sois Sage (Dir. Anik Jean)
Sois Sage is a tale of babysitting gone wrong—and a warning about misplaced trust and dangerous assumptions. A doting couple (Anik Jean and Jean-Nicolas Verreault) leaves their beloved (and highly imaginative) 6-year-old son (Nathan Jean-Huard) with a new babysitter (Sandrine Bisson), who turns out to be somewhat less qualified or dedicated to her job than she had let on in the interview. Her incompetence turns out to be the least horrifying element of the film, however, when the seemingly simple babysitting gig takes a grim turn.
Video Vengeance (Dir. Nada Cosovic)
Toronto residents who still enjoy physical media may recognize the iconic (and still open) video store Eyesore Cinema as the setting of this short film. The premise is simple: two hipster girls stuck on the graveyard shift refuse to take any BS from an obnoxious customer and find a way to amuse themselves during an otherwise boring shift. The (admittedly thin) plot is elevated by the short’s fun performances, quirky costume design, and humorous character work.