Submitted for the approval of the Nerdist Society, I give you the horrifying, hair-rising, eye-popping tale of the GiverTaker.
Just FYI, this short should be considered NSFW…unless you work somewhere real rad. Proceed at your own risk.
Fresh off its debut at Fantastic Fest, this morality tale about digging two graves (or, in this case, one smoky demon door) features a bullied high school girl (Nell Kessler) summoning a mystic being to grant wishes in exchange for offerings. Seeing no way that could go wrong, she gathers a cabal of tormentors in a basement during a party to shove their own malice in their faces.
The beauty of this short — apart from the literal, candle-lit, cinematographical beauty — is the peeling layers of character that emerge from sniping, mean-girl dialogue. When you start asking for the truth about who ruined your life, be prepared for it to hurt.
The other obvious plus (and a rarity for most low budget shorts) is the creature design of the questionably-named baddie. Part Leatherface, part Silent Hill, part all its own thing, it’s a steely, fearsome presence.
Writer/producer Peter Hall and director Paul Gandersman also make the most out of a minimal budget, drawing a girl out of thin air, turning a wall into a bottomless pit and summoning a humanoid hellspawn looking to collect. The overall effect evokes the ’90s serial feel of kiddie horrors like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and a slightly more mature Goosebumps — and with the “Dead Kids Club story” tag at the outset, this promises to be the first of a series.
Full disclosure time: I’m friends with both the writer and director, but its Fantastic Fest pedigree and the quality should speak for themselves.
So what would you wish for?
Remember when kids movies were terrifying? We do!
Images: Arcanum Pictures