FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: White Rabbit


It’s good to know that the cinematic society is beginning to lean more towards anti-heroes every year. Those characters are far more interesting than the angelic saviour we have rested a lot of our mainstream morals on. An anti-hero is the pinnacle of good writing, acting and direction when it is done well such as Nathan Wallace in Repo! The Genetic Opera and Rosamund Pike in the recent Gone Girl. You don’t want to love them entirely but you can’t bring yourself to hate them either. That battle is completely enthralling and luckily for Stephen Karl, who directs alongside Connor O’Hara, writes and stars in the darkly comic White Rabbit.

It’s not often you see a famed magician take off his top hat to appear in films but Karl has already shown promise with poignant drama Sun in the Night. Now he teams up with Lowkey Films yet again to produce a funny and action packed short. Tobias Baines is a contracted killer. But he relishes the murders and sees himself as a showman, producing bloody killings like a magic show albeit, one where he’d actually saw the woman in half if the price was high enough. However, Baines unearths a fiendish plot that puts his entire life in jeopardy.

The main draw in this tantalising short film is Stephen Karl. It helps that he is superb here, because he has to be, co-directing, writing and playing the lead man. That’s enormous pressure to place on yourself but luckily, he reaches that very high bar he’s set. As Tobias, Karl’s mixture between refined cockney hit-man and part delusional showman gifts the entire film with this unforgettable charisma. He’s suave, droll and a little bit damaged. These different levels of character enhance the film with this cocky rambunctious spirit that contrasts with the bitter end and the somewhat troublesome illusionist mind-set Tobias has. Add a few magic tricks of the trade, thanks to Karl’s skills as a magician, and the end result is compelling.

The film has enough speeding bullets and bloody pulpy bits to keep fans of London warfare films afloat whilst still providing the eloquent fun of it all. Helped along by Connor O’Hara and the team at Lowkey, Karl manages to adeptly bring to life a character too. There is also a rather stirring, powerfully shot end sequence that was reminiscent of the Filth finale and Karl and the team manage to capture a somewhat McAvoy twinkle (I say somewhat because the actor, in my belief, inimitable). In the end, it’s the brutal blend of fights, fun and feelings that, on a low budget, is actually superb.

If you’ve just come out of Kingsmen: The Secret Service and are looking for another fix of fast paced hilarity that comes speeding out of a gun and into the brains of many many people then White Rabbit is for you.

White Rabbit will be released online at 7pm. You can catch it on Lowkey Films!

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WiHM: Support Independent Horror with ‘Keepsake’



Writer/Director Katie Bonham is a talented filmmaker with an undeniable penchant for horror and things that go bump in the night. We’re lucky enough to have her on board as a member of the Cinema Chords team and we are immensely proud of her filmmaking accomplishments.

Her first short Doll saw her burst onto the horror scene and gain recognition for her creative eye. As a semi-finalist of the 666 Shortcuts to Hell 2 competition, Bonham’s second short film The Porcelain Ground was shortlisted for a Fright Meter Award. As for her third short, The Paper Round, has continued to gain her recognition on the festival circuit and is one of the only two shorts that have been selected to play during this years Frightfest Glasgow, the popular horror string of the world famous Glasgow Film FestivalThe Porcelain Ground will play to a sold-out audience on Friday 27th February and we will be there to cheer her on.

It would appear that there is no slowing the young filmmaker down and in recognition of the sixth annual Women in Horror Recognition Month (WiHM), we are delighted to bring you information about her fourth upcoming short KEEPSAKE. Continuing her love for the paranormal, Keepsake tells the story of a woman who claims that a poltergeist haunting her house is the spirit of her dead husband and allows him to take reign of the household. Intrigued by the story a struggling journalism student decides to take on herself to reveal the truth.

Starring in the film will be Hellraiser and Nightbreed star Nicholas Vince who will be playing the role of ‘The Husband’. He will be joined by Jennie Lathan who has starred in a number of short films including Beryl (2012) and Guns, Gangsters and Zombies (2012). They will be joined by Lexie Lambert, a very talented actress who starred with Ray Winstone in Cold Kiss.

The cast of KEEPSAKE: Nicholas Vince, Jennie Lathan and Lexie Lambert.

We thank you for taking time to read this post and formally invite you to get involved and donate to the crowd funding campaign. Not only will you be donating to a fantastic cause but you will also be able to get your hands on some truly amazing perks ranging from a thanks in the credits to an Executive Producer credit; signed posters; screenplays; T-shirts and set visits. More information can be found by clicking here.


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FeaturesKiller Chords

Horror at Home: February 2015



We are officially over a month in to 2015. So now is the perfect time to take a look at the horror films that will be be unleashed on DVD and Bluray this February. Enjoy.

Kicking off this months horror releases is Peter Roberton‘s made for tv thriller ROAD KILL which is released on the 2nd. Starring Oliver James and Eliza Bennett, the film follows a group of friends decide to go on a road trip through scenic Ireland only to run down and kill an old gypsy woman. WIth her dying breath she places a curse upon the group that sends for a gigantic bird of prey known as a Simuroc to deliver their punishment: death, one at a time. From the look of the trailer the film doesn’t leave a great impression but then this is a made for tv.

Also released on the same date is Kevin Greutert‘s vodoo thriller JESSABELLE. Set deep within the swamps of Louisiana, Sarah Snook plays Jessabelle, a woman who returns to her childhood home to recuperate from a horrific car accident. As she begins her recovery she reconnects with a long-tormented spirit from her past that has no intention of letting her escape. Very reminiscent of The Skeleton Key this film has an incredibly strong trailer (see below). We have high hopes for this film which comes to us from the director of Saw VI and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter.

Released on the 9th February comes a lesson about gorilla filmmaking from down under with THROWBACK. Set deep within the remote Jungles of Far North Queensland, two modern-day treasure hunters played by Shawn Brack and Anthony Ring run into a ferocious monster known as a Yowie, Australia’s answer to Bigfoot. This one might not be as polished as other adventure thrillers out there but there’s denying the skilful direction of Travis Bain who does an incredible job to make the most of its minimal budget.

Hailed as one of the best horror films of 2014, Jennifer Kent‘s chilling thriller THE BABADOOK is an intriguing look at the intense relationship between a single mother and her socially difficult child. We caught this film when it played during last years Film4 Frightfest and although the incredibly creepy trailer does mislead its audience into thinking its a deeply disturbing supernatural horror, this does not stop the film from engaging audiences in some incredibly haunting ways. With an impeccable and in our opinion Oscar worthy performance from Essie Davis, this film certainly deserves your attention.

From John R. Leonetti, the cinematographer of 2013’s terrifying The Conjuring, comes the horror prequel ANNABELLE which comes to DVD and BluRay on 23rd February. Starring Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton as a married couple whose home is invade in the middle of the night by members of a satanic cult unaware that an evil spirit has possessed a doll that was purchased as a gift for their unborn child. In desperation to escape the supernatural occurrences the pair flee to an apartment complex only to have the spirit of the doll follow them. Certainly no where near as effective as The Conjuring this is a film to check out even if it’s only to say that you have seen it.

On the back end of such haunted house chillers as The Woman in Black, the classic English ghost story is revised by Director Adam Wimpenny. Starring Ed Stoppard, Sophia Myles and Russel Tovey, BLACKWOOD is a chilling story about a family who relocates to the countryside in search of a fresh start. Plagued by spectral visions, Ben Marshall (Stoppard) becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth that appears to be putting the life of his family in danger. From the looks of the trailer this film appears to have lots of tension built on a foundation of dark empty corridors and strange noises, we’re interested and wouldn’t mind checking it out.

Also released on 23rd February and rounding up the months releases is the the black vampiric comedy SUMMER OF BLOOD will be released on DVD and BluRay from Monster Pictures. Directed by and starring Onur Turkel in the lead role the film follows Erick Sparrow, a negative guy who bumbles his way through life only to be bitten by a vampire in the process. Eric’s sex appeal rockets but there’s only one way he can rid himself of the excruciating pain in his stomach… to drink human blood. Full of quirky charm the film is described as ‘deprecating and rude and hilarious’. We can’t wait to sink our teeth into this one. Check out the trailer below.

Horror of the month: The Babadook


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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Vincent


What do you say about a phenomenal director who has lost the plot a little bit? Yes, I’m talking about Tim Burton – that electric haired genius whose flare for the gothic and macabre excelled in the late eighties and nineties. The man was an icon, especially to a generation of odd ball kids who couldn’t fit in. Spawning Henry Selick’s A Nightmare Before Christmas, gifting us with the Michael Keaton’s Batman and making us blub along with Edward Scissorhands. Now it’s all become a little boring. Even Burton boffins who guiltily enjoyed Sweeny Todd had to admit that, by the time we got to Dark Shadows, we had to call it quits.

But going back over his legacy, one that spans generations and still teaches them to be unafraid of their darker quirks, Burton is an icon. Though met with mixed acclaim with his recent Big Eyes (which is a shame because he really tried to do something different,) you can’t help but be impressed that it all kicked off thanks to a dead dog and a little boy named Vincent.

This stop-motion, black and white drenched animation is everything that Tim Burton means – a defining short as compelling as Edward and as ghoulish as Frankenweenie. With his defining pointed jaws, big eyes and swirling spirals, Vincent is a delightfully grim small film. Revolving around the titular character, whose last name is Malloy, this is the story of a nine year old boy who wishes to be horror master Vincent Price.

The short is told in this excellent narration, all in rhyme and a deep rolling elegance by Vincent Price himself, Vincent is a great example of how Burton can enthuse his gruesome imagination and translate it well to an audience. Very much a celebration of Vincent Price’s career, and immortalises the idol relationship, it is shaped by Burton’s love for horror and twisted little children. In a great way, the short is brimming with this chilling yet exuberant nature and striking imagery as though Edgar Allen Poe had emerged, rapping on the door like the raven.

Definitively Burton, the memorable moments within the film are visionary and harken of future projects years from the 1982 project. Obviously a testament to Burton’s love for crooked stop-motion animation, Vincent is a wickedly clever project. And though now, the director is running his uniquely flared movies into tedium, he did have a couple of moments and decades where all he could produce were original excellence. Vincent is one of them.

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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Caldera


Conveying mental illness on screen is a tentative process. Even bigger pictures that have scored Academy Awards do some injustice to those suffering, allowing stereotypes and tropes to perforate our daily life. Some films can do it well; Short Term 12 and Filth immediately spring to mind of accurately depicting people coping (or, in the case of the latter, falling apart) with a mental illness. Speaking candidly, as someone who is going through the motions of getting treatment for my old “broken brain” – figuring out what emotions are truthful, what thoughts are accurate and how to move forward with a diagnosis, a bottle of meds and therapy. More importantly, the fear of losing myself in the bleakness of pills or keeping the world a little bit vibrant but with troubling aspects.

Which brings us to Caldera – a stirring short film by Evan Viera – and the decision that weighs heavily on many. Focusing on our heroine, Caldera follows her journey as she abandons her medication and with it the bleak metropolis around her. She does so in pursuit of her fantasies that come with it beauty and pain. Can she find the perfect balance between the harsh truth and the dangerously captivating dream?

What is stunning about Viera’s Caldera is the core character. Her facial expression just hum of different levels of depression, mental illness and schizophrenia. It’s the sad dwelling in the bleak metropolis and the unnerving relaxation of the increasingly vibrant and alluring worlds that her mind concocts that strikes an echoing tone with our character. This feeling of disturbing euphoria, as someone unwinds because the fantastical world seems safer or more colourful than the norm is portrayed acutely in this brilliant short narrative that makes the character feel flesh and bone instead of computer code.

Viera’s work here is phenomenal. Within 11 minute he travels visual to these vivid and imaginative areas of her psyche. From cities with plant growth, blooming into flowers and animals to nebula journeys within the milky ways of her mind, this is a visionary film that is sublime in its artistry. It adds depth to the story as you understand why our protagonist is tempted to stay there contrasted against her grey world. It’s a rich tapestry of animation that transcends into this dreamscape effectively well.

Helped by Chris Perry and Chris Bishop, this is Viera’s testament to a, hopefully, lengthy and incredible career as he writers, directs and scores this exquisite and award winning film.


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Harvey & Risk set for Highland Horror ‘REDACTED’


Fans of the short films Dysmorphia, Split and Ink get ready as there has been some pretty awesome and exciting news released regarding our favourite award-winning Scottish director Andy Stewart‘s latest project REDACTED. Not only does this project mark a change in direction for Stewart as he will be embracing Sci-Fi and Fantasy but his latest short will also star two genre icons Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipede 2 & 3, The Editor) and Tristan Risk (American Mary, The Editor, The ABC’s of Death 2).

Laurence R Harvey (The Human Centipede 2 & 3) and Tristan Risk (American Mary & The Editor)

Described as an “exploration of the darker side of human nature when confronted with something strange and otherworldly” REDACTED will see Laurence R Harvey play an unimposing Man that stumbles upon a humanoid creature with alluring female qualities. While fearful and in apparent need of assistance, The Creature oozes sexuality and danger but it is unclear where the danger really lies…

“It’s a slightly different direction for me this time, a brief step away from body horror and into sci-fi or fantasy” says Director Andy Stewart“I am absolutely over the moon to be working with both Tristan and Laurence on this project. Having Laurence on-board is hugely exciting and a little daunting to me. I cannot wait to see what he does with the role. Tristan and I have talked about working together for a while now so I’m very happy to be bringing her to Scotland for this”.

REDACTED will see Stewart re-teaming with BAFTA-winning cinematographer Alan C. McLaughlin and the Special Make-Up Effects will again be designed by award-winning FX artist Grant Mason (HardwareSleepy HollowBride of Chucky, Clive Barker’s Nightbreed) who also created the make-up and gore effects on Split and Ink. The film will also be produced by Gordon HollidayRemo Catani and Austin Hayden.

Filming is set to begin in June 2015, with a crowdfunding campaign to launch in the next week. In the meantime, If you’re anything like us and enjoy a satisfying slice of horror then I invite you to join us in wishing Andy Stewart, Laurence R Harvey, Tristan Risk and the rest of team REDACTED all the best as we can’t wait to see more.


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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Duet


When you look back at your childhood, there are many masters who held your imagination and gloriously displayed it on the big screen. For Disney, there was one man who made our favourite characters come to life in this beautiful and artistic way. He took us under the sea with The Little Mermaid, went just around the river bend with Pocahontas and saw the lights with Rapunzel in Tangled. Creating these unique animations, Keane has filled our cinematic lives with colour and personality in this sublime films.

Exquisitely, he also made this wonderful short named Duet. This 2014 film that sees Glen Keane direct his first film, despite supervising animation in Disney for many years. Duet was originally released as an interactive film, where Motorola phones could freeze certain aspects and explore the scenery in the moments, and the result meant that the animation was downloaded by over a million uses. The simple story tells the birth and death of man but it’s the visual effects that really enhances the film. The technical effects, that are better explained here, give spiritual life to the animation.

Though the lack of interaction is the following Youtube clip may take away from the flow, the endearment is there. This spectacular hand-drawn animation is simply heavenly to watch. The contrast between the chalky characters against the night sky blue makes them effervesce. It’s a dance of the soul through the power of art, combining the elements of the spectrum with life and making it divinely dance across the screen. Keane’s efforts here are phenomenal and whilst the story does lack, it is the way that it is told that is spectacular. Beauty in its purest form, Duet is a short film worth singing about.



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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Film: Lights Out


Even at the age of 25, I find it impossible to walk from downstairs to upstairs with the lights completely off. Perhaps it’s from taking one too many punches with horror movies and their “darkness is full of murders” attitudes. Or maybe it’s because I am a bit of wimp. But if you don’t launch yourself up the stairs the minute you flick the living room lights off. Or lunge across the landing for your mid-morning piss, then you are a braver person than I am.

Lights Out a film by David Sanberg and Lotte Losten was the first film to crop up on a somewhat haphazard Google search. Written for B Horror Challenge Who’s There? this is a two minute effective short that spooks you during the daylight as well as the night. A woman turning off the light to turn into the bed sees a figure at the end of the hallway every time she flips the switch…..

The idea is really simple and that’s probably why it is effective. Playing on a fear that everyone experiences, unless you are Chuck Norris, Sanberg and Losten cram a lot of terror into a handful of minutes. The slight shadow, the unnerving way it doesn’t move and that “less is more” aspect allows little claws of fight to scrape down your back. As the small jolts and jumps build, the film becomes ghastly. Lights Out keeps that element of fear as a residual effect from childhood of monsters in the shadows, lights that are saviours and that ultimate hero – the blanket. It’s a small but it will make you shit yourself. Not one to watch before you go to bed.

You’ll be rocketing up the stairs in the quickest way.


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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Super Zero


How would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Would you run for your life? Or maybe you’d hole yourself up with a lifetime supply of beans? Perhaps you, like me, will accept your inevitable fate and go out in a blaze of glory and epic one-liners, killing as many people as possible so that you’re loved ones could escape. Of all the endless possibilities of the eventual doom that will reap the souls of Earth, I bet the one thing you didn’t think off is having a debilitating spine cord disease that makes zombies believe that you are already dead. Enter the magnificent Super Zero.

The story follows engineer Josh who received a dreaded phone call: he is dying. After much contemplation, he has resigned himself to that and instead of living life to the fullest, he lounges around mulling over his misfortune. However, when a space rocket crashes back to Earth, it brings an extra-terrestrial virus along for the ride that turns the people into monsters the minute they come in contact with it. Josh, after be-friended a group of survivors including the love of his life, discovers that his machines make great weapons and his disease is an almighty plus.

Super Zero is the kind of short film that packs an almighty punch and is just begging for an entire series of fun and action. This could possibly be the best superhero origin story without there being dead parents or spider bites. Josh is the kind of character you immediately empathise with because he seems wholly realistic. He’s a nerd, spending the first half of the film being undeniably droll, sarcastic and lazy thanks to his lack of will to care. Helped by actor Umberto Celisano’s talent and a fully fleshed script, Josh is an amazing protagonist to follow.

Mitch Cohen combines different elements here to make it all work. Able to balance comedy and gruesomeness alongside a rather darker theme (dead man walking hero verses, well, dead men walking), Cohen’s awareness of small bites of fright and hilarity give Super Zero this fresh edge. It pulsates with this wholly original spirit that overblows on one component. Combined with a stellar cinematography, wondering machinery that has us nerding out and an abundance of great characters; this is Firefly meets The Walking Dead with just a little dash of Kick-Ass. Phenomenally done, Cohen’s Super Zero not only needs a huge fanbase – it demands it.

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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Skinship


Most of us yearn to be touched. We spend a large proportion of our lives trying to feel just a brush of skin. After all, we live in a hyper-technological state (which I am fully aware I’ve mentioned before but as filmmakers are utilising it for all their films, I kinda have to). Anyway, people’s hands spend more time attached to a metallic box that has swipey functions and a camera than they do locked into someone else’s. If you spend most of your time without contact, you could feel as cold and distant from the human race as a phone or laptop.

If you feel like this, then do not be afraid, Skinship is a film that will bring you back to your senses.

Directed by Nicola Wong, this is a beautiful and entirely sensual film about an almost dystopian world where human contact is pretty much nil. A woman feeling lost in this unfeelling and callous life, where even her husband doesn’t touch her, finds a way to feel like herself again. She visits a mysterious woman who, for a small price, reconnects her with her senses.

Wong’s utterly captivating film will send shivers down your own skin and that is largely the point. The narrative, filled with this exquisite imagery and drenched in these outstanding colours that enhance the experience, is sublimely done. Wong juxtaposes the colour of the sessions with the black, white and grey world that is abundant in our lead’s life – which adds more heat to the moments between the two women. There, Skinship focuses on this intense empty emotion and fills it up slowly. Like teasing the audience with this delicate feather, Wong is careful not to allow too much to slip too quickly – especially with the character who feels all her urges burst at once when she is finally attended too. Now, this may sound like it’s leading to sex but that’s where Wong’s direction cleverly works. This isn’t about sex, this is about tantric and sensual connection. It focuses on this fingertip brush that allows you to feel alive again. Pulled along by the riveting performance by Anna Marie Cseh, who captures the isolation and alien feeling as well as the re-vitalisation so beautifully.

Skinship is an awakening – evocative in every sense of the term – and the powerful short film is completely breath-taking.

Skinship is making it’s ways around festivals – make sure you feel alive again 

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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Bachelorette


Arguably, everybody in the entire world has probably seen a short film. It all depends on your outlook of the genre. If an advert is crafted well, it can become this mini story of epic proportions only with an agenda to sell you stuff (which, with the abundance of product placement and the state of blockbuster films, is pretty much what features do anyway…cough cough…Frozen.) But what about the music video? Now, we’re not talking about the ones where girls in scantily clad outfits grind up against men in da club or the ones where boybands dance around yachts and islands talking about gorgeous ladies.

I’m talking about the music videos that tell a story alongside their songs. One of the few artists who utilises the art of the music video, whilst roping in some of the best directors around, is Bjork. She carves out some of the most excellent pieces of art that transcend just representing the music and becomes this mini-films of brilliance. Though there are many of her music videos that you could choose, a particular favourite is Bachelorette.

Directed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s Michel Gondry, Bachelorette is a succession from previous characters in music videos such as Isobel and Human Behaviour, seeing the “Isobel” character head off into the city after finding a self-writing book that dictates her life. Falling in love with a publisher, the book becomes a success and is soon developed into a musical.

Not only is the song fantastic, a poetic and great depiction of love and loss, but Gondry’s visuals fit into incredibly well. Taking a surrealist tone and stage setting as the Bachelorette repeats her situations that get smaller and smaller as the film progresses, Gondry astutely captures the spirit of the song whilst also conveying the claustrophobia of losing love. Drenched in wonderful colour that spring to life when the “Isobel in the woods” comes out of her black and white settings, the video greatly comes into vivid life. As the world becomes bigger, it’s clear the Bachelorette feels as though she is losing herself and Gondry cleverly creates this wonderful visual piece to match Bjork’s evocative song.

It’s one of many examples of making a short film out of a music video.

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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Eaten Horizon s


There is a fine line between surrealist cinema and throwing a bunch of images together and calling it art. It is the same with any art, really: someone can shit stain toilet paper and people get nuts but what is the meaning behind it all? Sometimes with exquisite masterminds such as Salvador Dali, those random images can coherently string a meaning together that evolves over time (for example, his work with Luis Bunuel in Un Chein Andalou is one of the best). So Danish filmmaker Jørgen Roos and Wilhelm Freddie around the 1950’s, teamed up for Eaten Horizons (which you can, and will, make pretty comparisons with the other two jokers previously mentioned).

So as this is a surrealist movie, there is not much in the way of plot – what makes Eaten Horizons quite an impressive short? Well, for one, it has been likened to Cronenberg’s experience with body horror and for that, it’s worth a gander. As for the themes, there is actually quite a lot you can take from it. It’s an amalgamation of the body in the nude form. Which is mostly female and if we were going to go down that route then I suppose it’s either a celebration of the feast that is a supple nude lady or indeed, that is exactly how men see us – but that’s a complete in-depth scene by scene analysis for another time. Yes, that’s coming. The entwining of bread and meat with the body in this succession of oddities highlights both the importance of food or at a deeper level, how the life is “eat or be eaten.” There is penance within jail and that imagery is likened to being trapped without the simple pleasures of life (sex and hearty meals). It’s in this that the film becomes this impressive short that is delectable in themes.

At under four minutes, the film does a lot of greatness and gives you enough to chew other. Though, if surrealism isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll be left with a bad taste on your tongue – mainly, you will lap up its (debatable) messages for a while.

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