“It’s All in Your Head” (Shriekfest 2016): Colorful Tale of Childhood Fear of Monsters Brings Nostalgic Smiles and Shudders

Monsters lurking under the bed or waiting patiently in the closet to terrorize children after their parents fall asleep are a concern to kids of all kinds around the world. Writer/director/producer Greg Jeffs brilliantly offers a new spin on this universal fear in his marvelous new short It’s All in Your Head (Canada, 2016). This film gets everything right in virtually every area, so expect a flurry of superlatives ahead.

The short is narrated by Mama (voiced by Maureen Jones), who tells, in poetic bedtime-story-style form, the tale of young Sara Lynn (Addison Jeffs, the filmmaker’s daughter). This little girl believes that creatures live in the dark places in her bedroom but grown-ups tell her otherwise. She decides to bravely face her fears head on one night. It’s All in Your Head boasts some delightful surprises as it follows Sara Lynn’s heroic journey. Jones’ narration is pitch perfect and Addison Jeffs gives an enchanting performance as the young heroine.

Addison Jeffs, daughter of writer/director/producer Greg Jeffs and producer Colette Jeffs, stars as a little girl fearing monsters in her closet in It’s All in Your Head.

Greg Jeffs’s poetic narrative is clever and thrilling, helping to set the tone of this short along with an amazing fantastical atmosphere. Production designers Jerod Fahlman and Mike Kasper, together with the rest of their staff, have created a world that is both alive in bright, bold colors and rich in dark tones, as well, sometimes with plumes of smoke and bizarre toys added to the mix. Some outstanding spooky practical creature effects are on display, and Regan Enderl’s cinematography captures all of the subtleties and action expertly. It’s All in Your Head is truly a family affair, as Greg’s wife and Addison’s mother Colette Jeffs is a coproducer on the short.

The creative creature design in It’s All in your Head is just one of the many factors that make this short so innovative and exciting.

It’s All in Your Head is one of those rare modern films that plays equally well to viewers of all ages. It’s spooky enough to have young ones on the edges of their seats and watching through splayed fingers, and it provides some nostalgic chills for adults, too. It is free of graphic violence, gore, nudity, and other excesses, choosing instead to work on our primal fear that terrible, nonhuman monsters await us in the dark of night. Parents who are fright-fare fans should seek out It’s All in Your Head during its current festival run (for more information, check out www.monstersarenotreal.com  or www.facebook.com/monstersarenotreal) to see if it might be the type of gateway horror film that got them interested in the horror genre when they were children, especially if they wish to make the fun side of scary movies an ongoing family tradition.

It’s All in your Head: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.