Concert/Film/TV Reviews

ATL Horror Film Festival 2020 Day 1 Recap: Road Trip Decapitations, Social Media Killers and More

See all the highlights from Day 1 of the Atlanta Horror Film Festival!

SHORTS BLOCKS #2: ANIMALS!

We love them, but maintain a healthy respect for their wild nature. This block showcases what happens when instincts completely take over.

Specimen (Director Maise Hooper)

Clocking in at only two minutes, the effectiveness of this short rests with the makeup work on the creature. In a male version of the Psycho shower scene, a man is pounced on by a murderous humanoid creature. I would’ve preferred to see more of the creature, but what we see is unsettling enough.

Little Wolf: The Night Trail

Fantastic animation highlights this tale of a young boy fighting against supernatural, bloodthirsty creatures with the help of a sage wolf. The animation allows for levels of action and gore we rarely see in other shorts. Very engaging with a hints at an established lore to build upon (most notably chasing after the Wendigo).

Wrath (Director John-Daniel Arauz)

In a dystopian future, state prisoners are forced to complete dangerous labor task throughout an abandoned city. In doing so, one unnamed prisoner experiences ghosts from his past. The stitled animation visuals helps drive home the hopelessness of this society, and smaller images, like that a yelping dog in death throes, also work really well. However, the story dragged too long and hurt the finale.

Worm (Director Ilya Polyakov)

Loneliness leads to lapses in judgments. Take this story of a lonely woman who falls in love too quickly with a killer neighbor. Some humorous beats early on but gets unsettling over the final minutes. Just wish the payoff and ending wasn’t so abrupt.

The Pig (Director Simon Sheets)

What if your life and appearance reflected how you acted? In this surreal film, a gluttonous and rude man’s life is transformed into a farm pig. He’s forced to live in a slop house while the farmer has a pig head (but the farm dog is a disturbing human on all fours). Loved the nightmare dream feel of this one.

Second Life Citizens (Director Neil Willoughby)

In our second satirical zombie flick on the festival, we join a world 2 years into the plague. But instead of worldwide collapse, the world chugs on with zombies joining the workforce and being called “Second Life Citizens.” We get a few funny points about the anti-intellectualism rampant today before the zombies transform into the flesh-eating monsters we’re used to. While super goy, the kills are in the Dead Alive vein so you’ll be laughing throughout.

Cassandra (Director David E. Tolchinsky)

A policewoman suffering from PTSD struggles to remember an incident at the old Wilson Farm while tracking a rare female serial killer named Cassandra. Helping her is a psychiatrist who has no idea what he’s truly walked into. The twist is pretty obvious but the cool thing here is we actually get to see a grotesque Jekyll and Hyde-style transformation.

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