The 2020 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival ran from February 6 through 9 and we here at Film Combat Syndicate were lucky enough to have remote access to some of the feature films and shorts. If you haven’t already, be sure to read our reviews of feature films such as Dark Whispers and Rock, Paper, Scissors to give you an idea of what was offered at this year’s festival.
On February 7th, in the Social Ills Short Block, Alexandra Serio’s film Tingle Monsters debuted. What, you may be asking, is a ‘tingle monster’? If you’re asking that question then you, like me, may not know what ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is either. I had to read some of the information provided by Serio herself. In Tingle Monsters, An ASMR vlogger with a devoted fan base returns from an extended absence with a live stream that spirals out of control.
The concept sounds simple enough, but the way that women are talked to online and treated either online or in-person is an issue that needs to be talked about more and this short film could be a good conversation starter.
Here’s the trailer:
On February 8th the true crime shorts block was shown. This was a small block of four shorts covering topics like podcasts, sex trafficking, and more. This block showed “Last Seen” which was directed by Drew Van Steenburgen, “South Shore” which was directed by Xavier Hamel, “Kaya” directed by Catherine Fordham, and “Children of Satan” directed by Thea Hvistendahl.
While I enjoyed all four of these, I particularly enjoyed “Last Seen” which followed a true crime podcaster who was out to cover a story that would help her keep her fanbase and “Kaya” which shows what a sister can do when a beloved sibling goes missing.
On February 9th a shorts block featuring the theme of folk horror was shown. This block featured seven films by various directors. It included “Drum Wave” directed by Natalie Erika James, “Boogeywoman” directed by Erica Scoggins, “The Doula” directed by Sarah Welsh Elliott, “Always Going Never Gone” directed by Wanda Nolan, “Hunting Season” directed by Shannon Kohli, “Xiomara” directed by Loelle Monsanto, and “Vinegar Baths” directed by Amanda Nell Eu.
I love folk tales and these folk horror shorts were all enjoyable, especially because I was not familiar with the tales that these shorts featured. From the “bad spirits” in “Drum Wave” to the horrors of a young woman getting her first period, to the Sranan folk tale of an aseyma, these shorts covered a range of tales that were all creepy and interesting. I would like to learn more about the folk tales that inspired these shorts.
Short films can be tricky to create because one does not have the time frame that a full-length movie allows to tell a story. The short has to set the scene, tell the tale, and give a resolution in less than a half-hour. Most of these shorts were under fifteen minutes. They were all captivating; I wanted more though. I wanted more of the stories, more from these directors and writers. If these shorts were just a taste of what these writers and directors can do, they definitely made me hungry for more of their talent.