Short Film Reviews: The Strange Monster at the Rivera House, Pare, Into the Silver Ether and Crazy Mel’s Auto Emporium (Nitehawk Shorts Festival 2022)

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The strange monster of the Rivera house

In this Puerto Rican horror short, the neighbors of a woman (Aidita Encarnación) are desperate to communicate with – or through – a mysterious presence in her garage. Writer/director Estaban Bailey has crafted a spooky piece set on a hot summer day – not a usual setting for a horror tale, but this enigmatic short is no usual tale. Well played and mysterious, The strange monster of the Rivera house (El Extraño en La Casa Rivera) is a nifty slice of short-thumb cinema

Crop

Writer/Director Lauren Sick’s Crop is a terrific Christmas cooler in which a young woman (Dana Drori) comes across a bloodstained jacket that looks suspiciously like the one that belongs to her husband. Things only get stranger – and decidedly scarier – from there. Sick constructs mystery and tension masterfully, backed up by a superb performance from Dori, whose facial expressions are fantastic. This short is open to interpretation and also deserves a fleshed out feature. Highly recommended, you can watch Crop at the link below.

In the silver ether

This silent, black-and-white short from writer/director Vito A. Rowlands finds an aspiring model (Hannah Mitchell) sitting down for a photo shoot in 1927 for a photographer (Craig Mungavin). Shot on 16mm, the film has been hand-processed to look like an authentic product of that period, and it certainly achieves that. The short film has an esoteric touch and tells its story quite convincingly.

Crazy Mel’s Auto Emporium

If there’s sometimes a fine line between dark humor and casualness, these microshorts walk that line. Car dealership Crazy Mel (director Kevin Maher in an all-in performance) lives up to his nickname because something tragic recently happened to him and a member of his family.

The strange monster of House Rivera, Pare, in the silver ether, and Crazy Mel’s Auto Emporium screened as part of the 2022 Nitehawk Shorts Festival, which ran from March 2-6, 2022 at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, New York.

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