The found footage horror movie still has a tight grip on Hollywood, though we do get the occasional creature feature like Wolf Cop with the old school horror vibe. Plus zombie flicks (for better or worse) are still going strong, and the remakes aren’t disappearing any time soon. But a lot of movies today are still embracing the shaky-cam style. Not everyone is a fan of that style though, and directors like Brent Sims feel our pain and have taken it open themselves to harken back to the horror they remember growing up with. Sims’ short anthology Grave Shivers (formally known as Dreadtime Stories) was funded on KickStarter last year, proving that this is the type of film many fans want to see.
This comes from the KickStarter:
So who in the hell is Brent Sims? I’m Emmy nominated and award-winning writer/director from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I got my start back in the late 90s doing indie films and playing film festivals around the world including Sundance, Cannes, Hamptons, Cinequest, Los Angeles and many others. I then moved into writing screenplays that landed at Tim Allen’s Boxing Cat Studios that has a deal with Disney, Mosaic Entertainment Group that has a deal with Sony and produced Batman Begins and Anchorman. I’ve also written and/or directed commercials for national brands like Plato’s Closet, John Deere, and many others.
From the first viewing it becomes apparent that this would make a great TV show, with its opening similar to the fantasy horror anthologies like Dead Time Stories or the Tales from the Crypt. It follows the more established three-story format, with each tale nicely linking into the next in some way. For example, the first story leads in from its teddy bear reveal, to the second story which has the song Teddy Bears Picnic on its opening credits. This all nicely leads into the final tale, a story very similar to one we previously saw at the start. A nicely constructed piece overall.
The stories themselves are also a great amount of fun. Teddymare has a great fantastical element to it, reminding me of films like The NeverEnding Story or Labyrinth. The soul eater creature in this short looks great, a bit like an alien grey, but more feral. There is a sense of wonder at work here, and the fact the director lets the father see the events ensures to the viewer it’s not just a part of the child’s imaginations.
Shhhhh! You Will Wake the Dead gives us a reversal tale of predator becoming the prey. This is the most wince inducing part of the feature, with the paper cuts from a missing person poster used on the hands and eye lids, as well as a nail being ripped off a finger sending a shiver down your spine. Satanic girl scouts is certainly a new one on me, and who would have thought that Satan would be the hero in a warped kind of way!
Teething Tiffany, the final tale in this piece of work, deliberately plays out like a retreading of the first story, thus keeping us off guard and making us think we know where the story is going. It then jumps in with a quite killer reveal which is both shocking, and in some ways satisfying, because there is nothing better than having the wool pulled over your eyes when watching a horror flick.
This felt very much like the old anthologies stories we grew with, and that’s exactly what was intended. It’s almost a shame they are so darn short, you really fancy getting your teeth into a much meatier story here, one with more depth and slightly more character based action. Overall it’s a fun watch and never outstays its welcome. It will be interesting to see where Brent goes next with his directing work, but let’s hope he opens up his horrific book of ideas one more time and gives us creature feature fans something else to look forward to in 2015.
Images: Brent Sims