Sunday, October 29, 2023

Toronto After Dark 2023 Review: CANADIAN SHORT FILMS COLLECTION (Part 2)

Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

When it comes to the world of films, features typically get the vast majority of attention from the general audience. But what most people don't realize is that it's the short films that can really blow you away. Taking a story or an idea and giving it straight to you, with no filler, is an art form in itself, but being able to captivate the audience and leave an impression on them after such a small amount of time is something completely different. 

At this year's Toronto After Dark Film Festival, there were several short films that did just that, so join me as I shine a spotlight on some of my favorites from TADFF's 2023 collection of Canadian short films.


Be sure to check out PART 1!




Synopsis: A soldier is tasked with eliminating a threat.

While very short, this was one of the most intriguing short films of all the ones I watched at this festival. It was visually stunning, thanks to some amazing cinematography, and the ending blew me away. This is one of the films that I would love to see made into either a longer short film, or possibly even a feature film. There is so much incredible potential here that needs to be explored.


Synopsis: In the eerie silence of a deserted subway station, Karla and her partner Hannah await a train. Unsettling whispers soon emerge, revealing they are not alone.

This was another one that I think would benefit from a longer runtime, though what we got was great. I think it was such a smart idea to make a short film based on an urban legend, as most urban legends are fairly short to begin with. This one strings you along, making you wonder what exactly is going to happen, and when it finally does, it's well worth it.



Synopsis: Three girls at summer camp try to contact a spirit.

This was one of my favorites out of all the short films I watched from this festival. It starts off a bit playful with these girls using a homemade "weeja" board to contact a spirit. I was expecting one thing to happen, and then when the ending came, it took a completely different turn and shocked me in the best of ways.



Synopsis: One couple's competitiveness to win at a game of Christmas charades soon leads to drastic consequences.

Of all the films I watched during this festival, this one was by far the goriest. It took me by surprise, and really delighted me in the most f'd up way. While there were a couple of effects shots that weren't the best, the overall look and feel of this short film was a winner in my book.



Synopsis: A priest gets more than he bargains for when he encounters multiple demons during an exorcism.

This was probably my favorite of them all. As a huge fan of the hit show Supernatural, I felt like this could've been pulled right from that series. We got some great performances from the two actors in it and some really cool visual effects. I didn't see the ending coming, which was great, and it made me want to see more from this world.

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