Shorts Round Up of the Week: 5/26/20

It’s the return of Shorts Round Up of the Week! And this week, Emilie Black steps in to the driver’s seat bringing readers some reviews for four of the latest short films from very unique indie film voices.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

Tea Time (2020)
A little girl hosts a tea party in the backyard with her favorite friends. As these friends do not listen to her requests, she takes things to a new level. Written and directed by Tara Price, Tea Time is another short where she takes something that is seen so often and twists it (like she did with her short Earworm). Here she takes a most regular of childhood games, having a tea party with stuffed animals and turns it on its head. Without giving too much away, things get dark while staying just the right amount of sweet and funny. The cast here is good and they play their parts in just the right way for the material.

The lead is played by Kennedy Barrie who gives her part just the right amount of mischief and wonder. She may just be a preschooler, she’s good here. The cast playing the stuff animals and the surprise toy are fun to watch and even surprising at times. Here Price gives her audience some wit, some humor, and a little bit of darkness, mixing them just right to make for a really fun and entertaining short film. It’s a great one that should be a hit on the festival circuit as it’s a hoot and show great talent from all involves as well as a fantastic sense of humor.

Fused (2020)
A woman suspects that something is off with herself and asks her girlfriend to come watch over her sleep. Director Patrick Rea is one who’s work we love to watch for at Cinema Crazed because he consistently turns out great short and feature films. Fused is no different. It’s a great film with a lot of atmosphere and darkness to it, the story is concise, yet complete in the short time the film is given. Of course, things are not gone as far into as they could have in a feature, but it work in the film’s advantage here. Helping sell this are the lead actresses Sarah McGuire as Sarah and Katie Rohlfing as Cassie. The two of them work together beautifully to create two humans who are worth watching and caring about. Their work here anchors the film and makes it something that pulls the viewer in. Fused is filled with atmosphere and the performances are on point, it’s a film that looks great even in its darker scenes something many films with much larger budgets can’t seem to manage. It’s a high quality film with a lot going for it.

Spiritual Practice (2020)
Also from Patrick Rea, this short takes the premise of a school to train exorcists and shows where it could go for one of them. It’s short and sweet while giving the viewer plenty to ponder over. The cast is strong and makes great work of the premise and story at hand. The cast does great work as is the case with all of Rea’s films and their selection must be part of the reason why. They work well together and they create a sort of team on screen. The film is one where the least said the better for its story, but on the technical side, it should be said that this shorts shows mastery behind and in front of the camera, that it’s cast and crew were clearly well chosen for their strengths and what they do best. The score should also be commended for giving the film an extra layer, adding to his underlying sense of dread and the effects support the acting with a quality aspect supporting the acting and story with an extra layer of visuals. Spiritual Practice has an interesting premise and a great execution; it’s a short and effective film with a very timely subject that should hit home for many.

Darling, Darling, Wendy (2019)
Based on the classic character of Wendy Darling, this follows her story as a mother desperately trying to cling to her youth and wanting to go back to times of happiness. She now is married with a child and still wanting her past back. Written by Katherine Sainte Marie and directed by Elise Robertson, the film plays with themes that will resonate with many while also dealing with some themes are dark for most. The film is not just another take on the Peter Pan story from another point of view, it’s a sort of continuation and exploration of what could have happened with Wendy as she grew up, knowing that is something more out there than the typical housebound life of women in those times.

Here she represents the wants and needs of many women of the time while going about them in not the best of ways. Her plight comes through loud and clear and reminds the viewer that freedom and aspirations are things that are often taken for granted these days. The direction of the film is on point, giving it a clear point of view and a great way to say what it needs to. As the writer also plays the lead, it is clear that the film is passion project for her and she puts her all into how she portrays Wendy. She’s not just a vessel for the story or a desperate woman, there is much more to her. The film also sports stunning set designs and costumes that fit the period beautiful and dark, moody cinematography and score that heighten the film’s effect on the viewer. This short film shows what can be done with a passion project done right.