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Ella and the Blind Witch

Directed by Michael Cimpher Starring Phyllis MacMahon, Joseph Preedy & Megan Mary Hart Short film review by Monica Jowett

A mixture of animation and live action has brought to life a bedtime story full of horror which is retold by a Grandmother to her two young grandchildren before they go to bed, and the same story comes to life later that night. Written by Rishi Vaja and directed by Michael Cimpher, Ella & the Blind Witch is a captivating short film featuring at this year‘s Cork Film Festival.

Grandma (Phyllis MacMahon) tells her young grandchildren Tom (Joseph Preedy) and Alice (Megan Mary Hart) an old scary fairy tale before bed about a witch and a monster. But before they are asleep, Tom and Alice worry about whether the story is real or not, and the banging outside the window and horrible screeches they hear make them decide it might actually be genuine. As they hide beneath the sheets in terror, the truth of the story may be far more terrifying than the fiction.

The story told by the Grandma, about a blind witch who created a monster that takes children’s eyes to see if they belong to her if they are not in bed asleep, is shown through a lovely piece of animation that creates a divide between the fantasy and the reality. The animation style of fairy tale horror is used powerfully to strike a more dramatic tone to the short film, and uses a clever technique that hints at the finale. The mixture of animation and live action work well together in this fantasy short, and when the two elements merge on screen in one climactic scene the audience will genuinely feel scared alongside the children as they see clawed hands move up the wall.

Preedy and Hart effortlessly portray the two children, who are both intrigued and frightened by this story, and in their matching pyjamas stay close to each other for protection. MacMahon as the Grandma, in her telling of this fairy tale, inflicts the dramatic flair to the plot to suck you in and keep you hooked until the end. Ella & the Blind Witch is a delightful short film that brings together animation and live action to tell a fairy tale of scares and horrors.

For more film reviews from this year’s Cork Film Festival, visit our Festivals page.


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