THE CABINET **** UK 2018 Dir: Thomas Nelstrop. 3 mins
Actor-turned-writer-director Thomas Nelstrop has crafted a witty, droll comedic distillation of the age-old bathroom cabinet shock – a mainstay of decades of jump-scare horror movies. Elizabeth Bower delivers a winning performance as a chatty dissatisfied customer who returns her cabinet to the ominously named shopkeeper Mr Cushing (Alexander Kirk) after a bad experience. Her lament that an awful face appeared when she looked into it gets the superbly delivered professionally-sarcastic response that it invites: “Was it your face? Because you know…it is a mirror…” While Kirk diligently attempts to talk her into an exchange for another cabinet, this short film becomes a pithy satire of pedantic customer service and the general hassle of getting a refund: “Is it just this door?” / “Did you put it up right?” “We had another lady with the same problem…” And, of course, “have you got a receipt?” Along with a particular segment of this year’s SCARE PACKAGE satirising the equally ancient cat-scare, this is a welcome demolition of a convention at which we have all rolled our eyes during some interchangeable CONJURING-type Hollywood horror.
Review by Steven West