The Movie Waffler Shorts Showcase - BLOODY MARY: POSSESSION / STARTLED / DIRTY BOOKS | The Movie Waffler

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Shorts Showcase - BLOODY MARY: POSSESSION / STARTLED / DIRTY BOOKS

We check out another trio of recent shorts.

Reviews by Benjamin Poole (@filmclubchs)

Bloody Mary: Possession
There’s an old blogging folktale which warns that if a movie waffler writes the name of the vengeful spirit Bloody Mary (1) five times in a review then said apparition will SUDDENLY APPEAR behind whoever reads the review and give them 500 words of waffle - yikes! It’s a time honoured legend loosely adapted by jejune short Bloody Mary: Possession (2). However, in this story the purpose of calling up the titular ghoulie is to inform ‘desperate’ women of whom they are to marry in the future. And thus, as the short unfolds, we see the beleaguered long-time beau of hunky Mike turn to this revenant relationship guide in order to find out whether or not she has any prospects with her belligerent fella… only to get more than she bargains for when old Mary goes and possesses her.
To call Bloody Mary: Possession (3) ropey would be an understatement. This is strictly amateur (half an) hour here, with red eyes aplenty and shaky focus. Nothing really makes much sense in the story either, as the couple have been living together for six years anyway, and Mike may be a little ornery, but at least he does his fair share of household chores; the film opens with him having a weird hallucination while looking into a washing machine. It’s as if the plot is simply a loose thread to hang the occasional boo! upon. That said, the jump scares are actually well executed, and the short has such a breathless innocence that it’s difficult to fully take against.


Startled
More stalky shenanigans are afoot in the silly Startled, which is like one of the mock trailers which featured in the Grindhouse double bill, the type of which still proliferate Vimeo and Youtube to this day. To say too much about Startled would be to ruin its central joke, which is specifically to spoof the recognisable tropes and conventions of early '80s horror trailers. Harmless and humorous, Startled was a short but sweet palette cleanser after the muggy cocktail of Bloody Mary (4).



Dirty Books
Hardest working man in indie shorts Timothy J. Cox adds his usual versatile quality to Ian Everhart and Zachary Lapierre’s Dirty Books, wherein he plays a school principal burdened with the unenviable task of informing central character David (an excellent Noah Bailey) that the printed school newspaper he edits is going to be shifted online. A rabid traditionalist, young David isn’t going to take this lying down – ‘You want to kill the written word!’, he righteously states - and so he sets about saving the teenie tabloid by finding stories bigger and more exciting than the faculty retirements and changes to the fitness curriculum which make up the paper’s usual boring lot.
The problem is that schools are generally pretty unexciting places, leading David to anonymously engineer bizarre events which he then sensationally writes up. His first gag is to hide pornography in one of the school library’s books, a prank that sets off a delightfully Bart Simpson-esque run of further imaginative tomfooleries and mischiefs which bolster the paper’s fortunes. But for how long can David keep this up before this pint sized Piers Morgan finds himself to be the story?
As well as being a charmingly put together short, with engaging performances and a witty script, Dirty Books also gently implies questions about the provenance of our real world media, and the desperation for sensationalised and hyperbolic news copy. With print media folding and, often uninformed and highly subjective, digital scribblings bourgeoning, Dirty Books is a timely tale.
And although David may ultimately be a hack who gets a comeuppance, at least he doesn’t make up a load of old nonsense about, say, blog hauntings by….Bloody Mary! BOO!


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