Concert/Film/TV Reviews

ATL Horror Film Festival 2020 Day 3 Recap: Kid Fears, Stay Out the Woods and the Surreal Life

Film by film coverage of Day 3.


Gold (Director Gi Gonzales, USA)

Talk about having a death wish. Five kids get propositioned to engage in a backwards version of Russian Roulette that ensures only one of them will survive. Suicide is disturbing in general, but the reasons these kids give for participating provides social commentary on the vapidness in some of our lives (one kid says he’s ready to go because he has all the social media likes he’ll ever need).

Insania (Carlos Salado, Spain)

I got heavy Eraserhead vibes from this story about a domineering mother and her son reaching his breaking point. It ends like you’d expect for mom, but we’re taken slowly down the son’s descent into madness. The son’s dark side is reflected with his “dolls” and we get a cool, masked depiction of that side in the film’s second half.

Midnight Snack (Luke Roulston, UK)

Are you watching the TV or is it watching you? Too much late-night binge-watching leads to this woman becoming possessed. Think twice next time Netflix asks you if you’re still watching.

Smiles (Javier Chavanel, Spain)

As you’ll probably guess, the smiles in the above picture mean you no good. Yes, it’s always important to meet your girlfriend’s family, but you also need to know when to use those “fight or flight” instincts, as a young man unwittingly finds out. What starts out as goofy turns deadly once it’s revealed those faces aren’t exactly masks. Not to mention, they want you see if you’ll have one too.

Klaus Eats Butterflies

Between an inappropriate children’s show and butterfly creating cunnilingus, this film is far and away the biggest mind-fuck of the festival. It would be right at home on Adult Swim. I’ll just give you one hint — Klaus is a disembodied head with a massively long tongue. Do with that what you will.

Dark Water (Erin Coates, Anna Nazzari, Australia)

Make sure to read my discussion with Eric Coates about this film. Equally a tale of horror and the weight of familial trauma, a woman’s house transforms into a vast ocean following the death of her mother. For those who like gothic horror with body and eco-horror elements, make sure to track this one down.

Eat Your Heart Out (Giovanni Tortorici, USA)

A lonely vegetarian named Marceline becomes open to the possibilities of love after meeting a free-spirited cannibal. Yes, you read that right. Opposites do attract but we need to draw the limit somewhere! Horror is more to the background as this one excels when it focuses on the trials of modern dating and way we try to find meaningful connections. With that said, I think Marceline can do much better…

Substitute (YiHeng Li, USA)

Clocking in at just 3 minutes, this short displays the surreal feeling of running across your doppelganger AND your girlfriend’s. Simple yet effective in conveying how frozen most people would be in this scenario.

Percipience (Daniel Oramas, USA)

As implied by the title, the short makes you try and piece together reality from fantasy. Is this young man losing his mind or under attack from evil spirits? Maybe a combo or both. And what about his girlfriend — is it really her or did the demon get to her first. While a definitive answer is elusive, the final images let’s you know whatever outcome you envision, none of them lean towards a happy ending.

Day 4 is the finale and tickets are still available at


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