Friday, June 08, 2018

DWF ’18: Stay (short)

They are like the characters from Sex and the City, but with a slightly deeper craving for supernatural power. This satanic cult of women is determined to enter into a Faustian bargain with their favorite demon, but they still have relationship issues in David Mikalson’s short film Stay (trailer here), which screens during this year’s Dances With Films, in Hollywood, USA.

They are an evil sisterhood, determined to achieve power through infernal means. One of the order will even willingly offer herself up as a sacrifice to seal the deal. Unfortunately, Carol does not keep her eyes on the prize. In fact, she even makes eye-contact with the unholy entity. That means they will have to repeat the whole damned (literally) ceremony. Yet, there might be a mutual thing going on between it and Carol. Then things get dark—really, really dark.

Wow, it is impressive just morbid Mikalson is willing to get. This is guaranteed to be a divisive film, but real horror fans will find it funny as you-know-where. Anna Seregina is perfectly deadpan as Carol, while Davey Johnson goes the full Doug Jones as the demon and also gets to deliver the nonchalant punchline as a surprise third act character.

Stay really is rather disturbing, precisely because it is so savagely amusing. Yet, it has more genuine closure than most satanic panic horror movies. In fact, that note of finality is precisely why it works so well. Conclusive endings—more filmmakers ought to try them. Recommended for viewers who like their comedy on the wicked side, Stay screens tonight, as part of Midnight Shorts 1, at the 21st Dances With Films.