THE SCARLET VULTURES **** Canada 2018 Dir: Kyle Martellacci. 15 mins
An evocative and compelling spin on a familiar genre theme from prolific short filmmaker Kyle Martellacci, who also shot, edited and wrote the script. It is framed by a mysterious interviewer (the imposing Astrida Auza), en route to a ritual, questioning a troubled young woman (Anne-Carolyne Binette) about the evolution of her unusual penchant for blood. Binette relays via flashback how she accidentally cut herself at her sister’s wake, the blood forming part of a cake that was then enjoyed by the guests. Her efforts to reproduce that culinary success do not end nearly as well. Assisted by a highly effective synth score by Mathew J Rees and dominated by a charismatic turn from the beautiful Binette in the lead role, THE SCARLET VULTURES offers slightly skewed snapshots of domesticity juxtaposed with more overtly Gothic visuals and fantastical interludes. Martellacci has an eye for visceral visuals, like Binette’s cutting open of a recently stitched wound to drink her own blood, and there are echoes of RAW in the story of sisters seemingly sharing the same horror movie vice. Polanski and Anne Rice are among the probable key influences, though it’s a distinctive calling card for Martellacci’s future.
Review by Steven West