The SXSW 2019 “Midnight Shorts” are as weird as ever

Noah Levine

Each year, SXSW selects some of the weirdest shorts filmmakers have to offer and screens them as part of their “Midnight Shorts” lineup. Here is a taste of what they have to offer:

Deep Tissue

“Deep Tissue” is directed by Meredith Alloway, and it follows a woman as she endures a very interesting massage. The film uses a limited aspect ratio in combination with white colors to create a strange and unsettling mood. The performances in the film are mysterious, leaving the viewers to infer what’s really going on. In the end, this short is definitely not for those who get queasy easily…

It’s Not Custard

Director Kate McCoid addresses a teenager’s worst nightmare with “It’s Not Custard.” When the lead character wishes her terrible acne away, it begins to physically manifest on the walls of her room. What occurs next is a wonderful montage of giant pimples being popped. The calm and collected performances create a great contrast with the bizarre and disgusting nature of the film. The practical effects, including the large amounts of “pus,” are very entertaining to watch and lend themselves to the film’s goofy personality.

Montana, GA

When three friends gather at a family cabin in the woods, their relaxing getaway turns supernatural when the spirit of the owner pays them a visit. Director Ryan Dickie brings this absurd story to life with cheesy, yet effective, effects and laid-back performances from the three lead actors. The mellowness of the friends pairs nicely with the ghastly green apparition that inhabits the cabin. The film even includes a random dubstep performance from a character dressed in a bug mask. It doesn’t really make sense, but at the same time, it does.

Other Side of the Box

Director Caleb J. Phillips’ “Other Side of the Box” may, in fact, be the scariest of the shorts. A couple is delivered a box that is home to a mysterious man who only moves when the box is out of sight. The short features spine-chilling cinematography that uses light to its advantage. Eerie shadows and silhouettes create unease throughout the journey. A terrifying soundscape conjures a sense of dread over the characters as the strange man in the box springs to action. This short is pure nightmare fuel.