Shore Leave 2018 EXCLUSIVE: Three Short Movies From This Year's Show

During this past weekend at Shore Leave 2018, I got to see three diverse original short horror films.

The first one was a short sci-fi horror film called The Last Abduction. Directed, written and produced by Frank Perrotto, the film follows an adult son who-in going through his late father's possessions-discovers a series of audio and video tapes which documents his father's abduction by aliens. On the positive side, the film does a great job with its lighting and setting the mood; however, the pacing is very uneven which can make it difficult for the audience to process everything that they're seeing.

Additionally, the ending itself is pretty predictable; however, I will give to credit to Perrotto for making his aliens memorably creepy thanks to unreal appearance. All in all, while the film has strengths, it fails to cover any new ground on the alien abduction genre. Therefore I'd give it a B.

The next film, in contrast, was really hard to enjoy.

First and foremost, if bright flashing lights give you headaches, then you might want to skip Brain Hack. Written and directed by Joseph White, the short stars actors Edward Franklin and Alexander Owen. Franklin plays a mysterious man named Fallon who approaches a young film student named Harper (played by Owen) and asks him if he would like to film God?!

As the story evolves, Fallon explains his theory that people who have a religious experience are only people who have had a brain trauma that enables them to see a pattern that they explain is God; in fact, Fallon says he has helped create a piece of equipment that will hack into the brain and cause the user to have the same experience of seeing God. The story escalates further as Fallon and Harper start to believe the church is after them.

Now, this movie had great cinematography and visual effects, but these elements get hampered by terrible sound mixing; as a result, it was oftentimes difficult understanding everything that was being said. Last of all, similar to the The Last Abduction, there's no new ground covered here that hasn't already been featured in Dan Brown's novels (you know which ones). Therefore overall I give it a B-.

Last but least, there was The Landing, a film which was definitely the strongest of the three shorts. Directed and co-written by Josh Tanner, the film takes place both in the present day and in 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis. Opening with an old man named Edward (played by David Roberts) walking across his field with a shovel, we hear a voice over of a character arguing over a telephone with a 911 dispatcher to have the police out at his farm. The scene cuts to a flashback of a young Edward (played by Tom Usher) siting on his front porch listening to radio sci-fi drama as he plays with little toy soldiers and an alien. His father, played by Henry Nixon, comes out onto the porch and admonishes his son for playing soldiers against what he considers to be, an unrealistic enemy.

It is at this moment, that we, as the viewer, are treated to an explosion in the sky where we see "something" land out in the backfield. As Edward's father tells him to go back inside, we see him run out to into field with his gun to investigate. Not soon afterwards, young Edward sees his father drag something into the barn.

Now, I don't want to say anything else, because I don't want to give away the ending. But in my brief highlights of the short, you can tells that this movie really impressed me with its visual flair. It had a very Twilight Zone-esque quality to it, so if you're a fan of that series, then you are in for a treat. I gave this an A.

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