Directed by: #MeoshaBean
Short Film Review by #ChrisBuick
Halloween Horror Shorts Vol II is a collection of short horror films from award-winning filmmaker Meosha Bean in collaboration with several writers, actors and composers, as well as some of projects almost completely of her own creation.
Made up of over a dozen shorts, the collection is certainly not lacking in quantity, however, most of them are guilty of an unquestionable absence of quality. From the start, many of the films as they run are essentially a carbon copy of the one that came before it, following the same simple concept where only the lonely setting and single actor have changed. Even putting that aside and taking each piece as it comes, a lot of these films are over before they even really get started, never seemingly taking their chance to build any suspense or allow us to try and get invested in what’s going on.
A re-ordering of these films might have helped keep the flow moving a bit better, but what it really needs is for some of the shorts with slightly stronger concepts to be fleshed out and given a bit more attention. A few also seem to be laden with some unnecessary, and to be honest, aggravating narration that acts instead as blow by blow commentary of the action, missing what seems to be the basic lesson with horror; show, don’t tell. After a few of these in succession, attentions will start to wear thin pretty quickly.
Despite this, gladly there are a couple in the collection that set themselves apart. One film called Night Games which was written, directed, produced by and starring Bean herself runs longer than the rest and is one of the few stand-outs, not to mention the genuinely engrossing X Marks the Spot which completes the collection, using first-person perspective with a Slenderman vibe to tremendous effect, and both films will most likely be the ones that leave you wanting to see more.
It must be said as well that the camerawork here can be quite extraordinary and this collection (as well as some of her other works) shows why Bean is an award-winning director and can definitely handle a camera. While the films themselves might be monotonous plot wise, Bean effectively uses a wide array of different styles to showcase her content, including panning shots, POV and found-footage styles to name just a few. Also, the scores and compositions are often on point and invoke the right tones of discomfort and suspense that good horror scores should, it is just a shame that the writing lets the rest down.
While quite a few of the shorts in Halloween Horror Shorts Vol II simply don’t deliver, there are some that have a solid concept at the core, and there is potential here that is begging to be fulfilled, not to mention a clear passion for film throughout from Bean who is definitely a filmmaker to watch.