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John’s Horror Corner: Girls Night (2017), Independent Short Film Review.

December 20, 2017

MORE Indie Reviews:  Here at MFF we occasionally do horror short film and pre-release indie film reviews on request. Among recent solicited promotions are Love in the Time of Monsters (2014; feature length), Interior (2014; feature length), Smothered (2014; feature length), In the Dark (2015; feature length), Brother (2016; film), Other Halves (2016; feature length), Scythe (2016; film), The Belko Experiment (2016; feature film, mainstream theatrical release), The Barn (2016; feature length), Shallow Waters (2017; short), Burn (2017; short), Tethered (2017; short), We Love Selfies (2017; short) and Cool (2017; film).

Disclaimer: This review was solicited by the filmmakers and/or producers (to my cinephilic cohort @MoviesFilmsFlix) who provided privileged access, directed us to a viewing medium, and/or offered permission to use image stills of the film. However, my opinion remains unbiased as I was neither hired nor paid to produce this critical review, nor do I have an investment stake in the film. Here’s the Facebook page for the film, the IMDB page, and the person to follow for updates regarding the upcoming sequel: by David Teixeira via Twitter (@davidemmanuelt).

Utilizing first-time actresses and both written and directed by David Teixeira (O ruído contínuo, Sweet Madness), Girls Night is a French film about an oddly masked lunatic who stumbles upon someone’s home as she prepares for a girls’ night on Halloween.

IMDB summary:Girls Night” is a short horror film that takes place on Halloween. Three girlfriends stay home for a slumber party that goes bloody wrong. Literally.”

The shots (perhaps all handheld) are relatively basic and the premiering exposition is far from interesting—such is often the case in short films that need to rush to the point, but a valid criticism nonetheless.  Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with most aspects of this film—but I can tell it’s trying. So, rather than further pick on early-career filmmakers, I’ll remand myself to commenting a some positive.  Whereas many events in the film feel unnaturally staged, I find much refreshingly candid behavior when the girls do their playful photoshoot. That “glimmer” would interest me in seeing subsequent films (by this team) focusing on sympathetic friends-to-be-victimized.  However, I’d advise the zombie subgenre over this stalker-slasher premise as that would further dehumanize the threat and focus on the star characters’ sociology.

Quite to the contrary, our killer’s mannerisms seem hammed up—almost cartoonishly sinister with wispy flowing finger motions and one-too-many-a-headtilt—and the film plays on familiar notions from The Strangers (2008), urban legends and The Blair Witch Project (1999).

Filmmakers and their short films are like scientists in laboratories.  Sometimes what we see on the screen is just an experiment, or a test to see that someone can “create” using their knowledge of how to use a camera and decide on a shot and edit it, or a submission made to showcase their ability to assemble and produce a film.  I’m a pretty critical viewer, but I try to remind myself of this when I judge.

In summary, no, I wasn’t wowed.  But I’d entertain subsequent submissions focusing more on interpersonal factors.

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