Watch XX – four creepy film shorts by deadly women in horror
The premise of XX is deadly – four horror film shorts directed by women. And oh Lord, they are creepy. Watch it on Netflix now.
There simply aren’t enough women being given space to make horror, which is a horror story in itself when you consider how many of us love the genre. Horror films are seductively cathartic, and let’s face it, the dark side can be FUN.
In XX, now available on Netflix, we’re presented with four short horror films. Each story, directed by a woman, takes familar themes of monsters, murder, death and the supernatural, and shows it from a woman’s perspective. Horror fans drawn to specific genres should each get a taste of what they fancy, so take a look at what’s inside this disturbing box of delights…
Animated intro and intermission
Holding the four shorts together is the stop-motion animation of Sofia Carrillo. Thrust your head inside the doll’s house if you dare.
Carillo’s eerie, animated little doll’s house skitters around dark corners on furniture legs and bids you to take its hand. Be warned, for it will lead you astray, past clockwork girls and fluttering birds, until you reach your next tale of shadows.
Perhaps Carrillo’s surreal animated dreamscapes are where the legendary Alice animator Jan Švankmajer goes when he dreams? One likes to thinks so.
Director: Jovanka Vuckovic
The first chocolate in the horror box has a sweet casing yet a dark centre, for The Box is a very dark fable indeed. During a family ride on a train, a boy peeks into a stranger’s box when invited to see the “treasure” there. He won’t say what’s inside the box, but refuses to eat thereafter. What did he witness, and how far will the mother go to save her family, if she can? This creepy tale has shades of The Twilight Zone about it, and never forget just how scary The Twilight Zone could sometimes get.
The Birthday Party
Director: Annie Clark (a.k.a. the musician St. Vincent)
This gloriously kitsch black comedy spins the tale of a mother determined to give her daughter the best birthday ever, even though she found her husband dead in his study that very morning. The darkly comic timing is as sumptuous as the must-have wardrobe and hair for this one. Yes, I’m going to say it – the styling is to die for. Also, the end credits are wry as fuck. Love it.
Writer/director: Roxanne Benjamin
This super-trad tale of why it’s bad to hang out in the wilderness with mansplainers is a satisfying straight-down-the-line horror, and glorious because of it. Here be monsters, and if you share my deep love of female werewolves I’m guessing you won’t be too upset if the monster doesn’t turn out to be yet another alpha male.
Her Only Living Son
Director: Karyn Kusama
Cora has been bringing up her son all alone, moving towns to flee overtures from the absent father. She’s done a great job of bringing up Andy, but as his eighteenth birthday approaches he’s becoming uncharacteristically cruel and violent at school. Neighbours are taking an unusually high degree of interest, and Cora may have the answer to Andy’s behavioural problems – but can she bring herself to place a mother’s responsibility above all?
XX – with love and kisses
What all these delicious horror shorts have in common is the power of storytelling driving them. I won’t list a favourite, because everyone has their own penchant for niche horror. Some folks like subtle nightmares they can’t wake up from, and some want gory slashers. Some fans yearn for monsters, while others crave demons or human psychology at the heart of the rotten apple they’re about to raise to their lips.
Each XX film short portrays its slant on horror with nuance, satisfying narrative, acting, artistry and feel.
Whatever your flavour, you’re bound to find your favourite in this box of horrors. Cut the chocolate in half before you bite, though… something nasty might be lurking inside.