Spoiler-Free Short-Film Reviews: “The Foreboding: Fractured,” “Sour Milk,” and “Dolly Molly’s Playhouse” (Romford Horror Festival)

February 22, 2024

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 josephperry@gmail.com. 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.


In director Kemal Yildrim’s short The Foreboding: Fractured, four university friends go camping in the woods, which is never a good idea when it comes to horror movie characters. Neither is telling scary stories by the campfire, but that happens here too. The elements are set for some forest-bound fear fare, and though I will avoid going into spoiler territory, suffice it to say that what the quartet runs afoul of is not a slasher nor a cryptid, but something of the supernatural variety. The ensemble cast — Eve Kathryn Oliver, Alexander Staunton-Hill (who also wrote the screenplay), Olivia Bennett, Peter Tilley, and Sienna Shih — all turn in fine performances playing believable characters, and Yildrim does an admirable job of setting an eerie atmosphere and building suspense.  

SOUR MILK (U.K., 2024)

A homeless shelter offers a terrifying choice for a young woman in writer/director Joe Duncombe’s Sour Milk. Cassie’s (Molly Grainger) first night at the shelter starts off well enough, as she meets the friendly Marie (Sherice Banton), who introduces her to Dom (Guy Samuels), an employee who is serving up dinner. Cassie witnesses a horrific act that will change her life one way or another, depending on what she decides to do. Grainger does wonderful work conveying Cassie’s initial nervousness that turns to fear, leading an impressive cast. Duncombe helms this lean, effective supernatural shocker skillfully, serving up some interesting surprises.


Dolly Molly’s Playhouse is another fright-fare short from director Joe Duncombe, this time cowriting the screenplay with Zac Haydn-Jones and Ronan McAuley. Dolly Molly (Molly Mae) is a decidedly creepy and quite evil presence, and she rules over a shop that you don’t want to enter. Less than 4 minutes long, this short delivers the eeriness quite effectively without on-screen bloodshed or gore. Mae provides a goosebumps-inducing performance, with Louis Harrison and Haydn-Jones in supporting roles as Dolly Molly’s playthings.

The Foreboding: Fractured, Sour Milk, and Dolly Molly’s Playhouse screen as part of the Romford Horror Film Festival, which runs February 29–March 3, 2024 in Romford, U.K. For more information, visit https://www.romfordhorrorfestival.com/.


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