SXSW Online 2021 is well underway and we’ve been scouring the content available to Canadian reviewers, with a focus on female filmmakers. Tonight, we’re talking shorts—from the absurd to the sublime, from animated personalities to literal animation.

The Expected (2021)

Directed by Carolina Sandvik, this stunning and surreal animated short from Sweden takes a grisly turn when a relaxing soak turns into a bloodbath for an expecting couple…literally.

Through gorgeous stop-motion animation, The Expected tells the story of a pregnant woman who enters a strange fugue state and loses all of her blood while taking a bath. After her partner finds her catatonic and exsanguinated, he moves her to the bedroom—and experiments with pouring her blood into their aquarium. 

The results? Let’s just say that, as far as pregnancy horror goes, Rosemary had it easy.

Excellent sound design, wildly creative storytelling, and remarkable attention to detail are the primary draws of this gripping short. Innovative and visually arresting, The Expected is an unexpected gem that makes me long for a new stop-motion renaissance in genre film. 

Credit: Allie Schultz

The Other Morgan (2021)

Morgan (Alison Rich), a charming but underachieving “death doula for the animal kingdom” arrives at a customer’s house to exterminate some pests, only to have the appointment cut short by an unexpected phone call from the local hospital informing Morgan of her father’s medical emergency. Upon arrival at the hospital, Morgan makes a curious discovery—by her father’s side is a semi-doppelgänger (Mary Holland) who shares her name and is living her ideal life. 

Faced with a glimpse of what could have been, the original Morgan falls into a shame spiral that can only be reversed by an unusually honest encounter with a quirky former high school acquaintance (Chloe Wepper)—and an unexpected truth bomb. 

Written and directed by Alison Rich, produced by Hannah Settle, Laura Schwartz, and Brittany Machado, and shot by cinematographer Allie Schultz, this largely female crew has created a delightful short packed with quick-witted whimsy and a sweet dollop of heart.