Short-Film Reviews: The Strange Monster at the Rivera House, Pare, Into the Silver Ether, and Crazy Mel’s Auto Emporium (Nitehawk Shorts Festival 2022)

March 6, 2022

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

The Strange Monster at the Rivera House

In this Puerto Rican horror short, neighbors of a woman (Aidita Encarnación) are desperate to communicate with — or through — a mysterious presence in her garage. Writer/director Estaban Bailey has crafted a chilling work that takes place during a hot summer day — not a usual setting for a horror tale, but this enigmatic short is no usual tale. Well acted and eerie, The Strange Monster at the Rivera House (El Extraño en La Casa Rivera) is a nifty slice of short-shock cinema

Pare

Writer/director Lauren Sick’s Pare is a terrific Christmas-set chiller in which a young woman (Dana Drori) comes across a blood-stained jacket that looks suspiciously like one that belongs to her husband. Matters only get stranger — and decidedly creepier — from there. Sick builds the mystery and tension masterfully, assisted by a superb performance from Dori, whose facial expressions are fantastic. This short is open to interpretation, and also warrants a feature-length fleshing out. Highly recommended, you can watch Pare at the link below.

 

Into the Silver Ether

This shudder-inducing silent, black-and-white short by writer/director Vito A. Rowlands finds an aspiring model (Hannah Mitchell) sitting for a photo shoot in 1927 for a photographer (Craig Mungavin). Shot on 16mm, the film has been hand-processed to look like an authentic product of that time period, and it certainly succeeds at that. The short has an esoteric feel to it and tells its story in quite a compelling manner.

Crazy Mel’s Auto Emporium

If it is sometimes a fine line between darkly humorous and flippant, this microshort treads that line. Car dealer Crazy Mel (director Kevin Maher in an all-in performance) lives up to his nickname as something tragic has recently happened to him and a family member. 

The Strange Monster at the Rivera House, Pare, Into the Silver Ether, and Crazy Mel’s Auto Emporium screened as part of the Nitehawk Shorts Festival 2022, which ran March 2–6, 2022 at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, New York.

 

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