ABHORRENT **** Canada 2019 Dir: David Scott. 15 mins
A notably grim and graphic entry into the “fucked up family” cycle of modern rural (usually American) horror, this pivots around Simon (Alex Friesen), a teenage boy who has just passed a rite of passage on his family farm. Dad (Garth Wigle) is stoic and intimidating, Mom (Stacey Iseman) is heavily pregnant and increasingly anxious about the locked basement in which a cow and her calf are kept. Everything feels like it could explode into chaos and carnage at any moment.
Iseman’s passing resemblance to Shelley Duvall (complete with axe) fleetingly reminds us of THE SHINING, but the emphasis on images of death and decay – coupled with the discordant, brilliant score by Maria Molinari and the oppressive sound design – firmly position it in the category of ‘Ordeal horror’. Blood and maggots bubble up from the sink, animals are euthanised and the near-silent portrayal by Friesen of “Mommy’s special boy” has the power to stay with you after viewing. Strikingly shot by James Griffith, it pays off with bravura extreme violence and a suitably grim punchline. “It’s in you now, Momma – this is the one…”
Review By Steven West