The Short Shack: The Witching Season Episode One, “Killer On The Loose”
It’s dark outside. You’re being followed by a figure who walks slowly, and no matter how fast you run, how hard your legs pump or your lungs begin to strain, he’s only ever a few feet behind you.
But there– on the horizon, what’s that? A small building, grayed with age and misuse. Shingles dangling from the roof and shutters flapping in the breeze. Shelter!
You slam the door and find yourself inside of The Short Shack.
Why not sit down, watch a short film with us, and pass the time while you delay the inevitable?
The screen flickers to life with today’s short– The first episode of a short film anthology known as The Witching Season. Today’s installment, Killer on the Loose, is written and directed by Michael Baliff. It’s a classic story of a woman on the run from a man with a mask and a knife.
But it is incredibly smart about what it does– first, there is no dialogue. The only speaking comes from the television screens in the house that Hailey Nebeker takes shelter in. The next thing that made me get very excited about this short is that it knows it is low budget, and plays on your expectations of that. It takes place at Halloween, and that leaves you questioning– is the blood real? Is it a costume? What are we meant to fear and what are we meant to write off?
It’s always a thrill when filmmakers take what could be limitations and turn them into a boon for the story.
The tension is palpable as our ingenue arms herself and tries to hide, making so many of the mistakes that every character who has ever been trapped in a house does– failing to clear the room, not knowing how to hold her knife– running upstairs instead of out the door, hiding in places that take away the majority of her vision.
There’s a familiarity to this, something comforting about the set up, like a hot toddy for the slasher’s soul. But it plays on your expectations, too, in what becomes simultaneously an homage and a slight twist on the genre.
And while it’s not the first of its kind, it is a genuinely fun watch.
So kick off your muddy shoes, ignore the breathing on the back of your neck… and take in all 14 minutes of Killer on the Loose. You can resume your screaming and running later.
The Witching Season continues to scare so stay tuned for episode two later in the week.