Little Horror Movie: 2018: written and directed by Jerome Cohen-Olivar
“The Little Horror Movie” is a correct, if not particularly descriptive title. Featuring one-hand’s worth of characters and a handful of well-used Casablanca locations, it may be little; but you should still seek it out cause it’s damned good.
The story concerns the makers of a YouTube channel based around checking out exotic and/or dangerous locations around the world (think Netflix’s Dark Tourist). After an opening in Brazil; in which an incident with a stolen camera sets up the basics of the three main characters, the rest of the film is the trio in Casablanca, Morocco. These three are Helen (Rebecca Romon), the charming and inquisitive on-screen persona and leader , Einar (Einar Kuusk) no-nonsense sound guy, and Mark (Cody Heuer), kinda-goofy camera man. The three have a natural chemistry, and feel this is truly their job and they aren’t jumping in to a role. Of course,there is more to the characters than the singular notes above; each of the three is well defined.
The three travel to Casablanca to film the latest episode for their channel. I’ll give the story credit as I had no idea where it was going to go; multiple cues are set up and I was excited to see which one(s) would be used. Could it be the basic “Americans out of their element and end up in shit?” of Turistas or Hostel? Perhaps the slightly off landlady (I’ll admit it was hard to understand her sometimes) at the AirBnB who has instructions not to go into the basement? Maybe something about the wedding they get invited to by a local? Let me say, that event is so incredibly creepy and oddly disturbing. As it moves through, there is something… off… about it all. Or looking further into the cursed/haunted slaughterhouse which they are denied entry?
Of course, I’m not going to ruin where the movie goes, that’s up to you to find out as you watch it (and I hope you will). Where it does go is fascinating and well-done. I will say there is a character shift for Romon; and she plays it very well. Kudos for her for spending much of the film covered head to toe in blood. That’s a special type of sticky that never washes off.
Those out there who may be “ugh, this sounds found footage” should note the whole film isn’t in the style. It cuts between the camera footage of the on-screen cameraman and standard film shots. This transition can be sometimes jarring, especially after a long while “in-universe.” I believe there were a few times where this is partially off-putting as the sound is still coming from the in-universe sound operator (ala Blair Witch) instead of the film crew. Whether this is on purpose to keep us off balance or not, I’m not sure. There is some meta/lamp-shading for the found footage genre within the film. That helps keep from falling into too many of the tropes. (For another good example of this is Found Footage 3d, currently on Shudder).
Little Horror Movie is a small but solid horror film. With effective use of location and great chemistry with its tiny cast, you should seek it out. Little Horror Movie is currently in festival run, find it local to you!
UPDATE JUNE 28, 2019: The film is now out on VOD under the title The 16th Episode.