Shorts Reviews: “AlieNation,” “Folk,” and “First Blood” (Blood in the Snow Film Festival)

November 22, 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 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.


Director Ray Raghavan’s AlieNation (Canada, 2022) finds a young girl named Maria (Maria Frazer) and her mother (Margarita Iturriaga) being chased through the woods by border patrol agents who aren’t shy about using their guns. Maria makes an astounding discovery while hiding in a cave entrance, and soon enough everyone finds themselves pursued by a deadly entity. The double-meaning title gives away what joins the chase, but that gives me the opportunity to say without giving away a spoiler that the creature design is highly impressive. Chase scenes and social issues combine to make this well-acted and deftly directed science fiction/horror hybrid a winner.





Director Gabriel Maron crafts a goosebumps-inducing Halloween folk horror in Folk (Canada, 2022), in which a young woman (Sara-Sue Vallée) turns away some trick-or-treaters at her front door, only to find that these are not your average children simply looking for candy handouts. This supernatural chiller sports an ominous tone and unsettling color palette, and Vallée is terrific in her role as the unwitting protagonist. I would love to see this short become a feature, because the mythology it promises should leave plenty to explore.

First Blood

In writer/director Olivia Locciano’s First Blood (Canada, 2022), a teen girl (Lauryn Sa) discovers that her first period awakens a new, unusual hunger in her, one which gives her eerie visions involving the boy (Tristan Grajales) that she likes. Locciano delivers a not-for-the-squeamish entry into cinematic fear-fare involving menstruation, which includes such predecessors as Carrie and Canada’s own Ginger Snaps. Sa gives a solid lead performance, and the chemistry between her and Grajales is believable.

AlieNation, Folk, and First Blood screen as part of Blood in the Snow Film Festival, which takes place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from November 21–26, 2022, with a Super Channel lineup on the same dates. For more information, visit


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