Written by Lorcan Reilly and directed by Alberto Corredor, Baghead is an unpredictable, rich, twisting horror short that hits all the right buttons at all the right times. The story is put together with delicate care, so as each layer is pulled back, we see that there’s a lot more roiling under the surface.
In the short, we follow Kevin (Oliver Walker – Atlantis), a man haunted by grief. He ventures to a grotty storage room at the back of a rundown pub to meet with Baghead (Pat Boothman), a shape-shifting witch who can channel the dead. Kevin pays for his time with Baghead in the hopes that she will help him find the answers he seeks.
Baghead lulls you in with a mystery. After an abrupt and tense start, we’re not entirely sure what to expect as we follow Kevin into this dark, dank room. The gruff Gatekeeper (Julian Seager – Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy) curtly gives direction to a nervous but determined Kevin. His apprehension is understandable, but as their session progresses, the tone takes a dark and surprising turn.
The short has a very subtle score (composed by Hollie Buhagiar) which mostly manifests as an unnerving tonal soundscape that adds flesh to the bare-bones set and lighting. This minimalist approach works incredibly well as we are able to focus entirely on the performers and their unfolding story.
John Wate’s cinematography holds the viewer steady with an unflinching gaze. Most of the shots are framed just so in order to capture the pertinent characters, crafting an intimacy that is both economical and effective.
But undeniably, Baghead‘s strongest point is how it unravels its prickly tale. At a total run time of just under 13 minutes, it’s less of a slow burn and more of a turning screw. It’s like a tightening coil that wraps around you and pulls you deeper into the story.
The last shot – as the music really kicks in – delivers such a satisfying final blow. It’s the kind of ending that immediately makes you want to start it over again – now that everything has clicked together.
We’ve talked before about short films and how they’re perfectly suited as an appetizer for a feature. We think that Baghead would make an excellent pairing with The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Both have that thread of mystery and witchy wonder woven throughout, and both have a strong (but compact) cast of characters.
Baghead has been making the rounds on the international festival circuit, and cleaning house in the process. The short has already picked up several awards including the Paul Naschy Award at Sitges, Best International Short Film at Nocturnafest, Best Horror/ Best Short at DragonCon, Best Short/Director/Audience Favourite at Cryptshow, Best Thriller at HollyShorts, Best Short Film at Atlanta Horror Film Fest, and the Bronze medal at Manhattan Short.
You can watch the trailer here and check out the poster below. Baghead will be screening next at the Buried Alive Film Festival in Atlanta, New York City Horror Fest, Abertoir Film Fest in Wales, Kinofilm Fest in Manchester, and Terror Molins in Spain.