Gruesome Reviews Super Scary Shorts Saturday

“Goodnight, Gracie” (2017): Death Climbs the Family Staircase in Discomfiting Short Film

A young girl finds herself caught between her religious beliefs and a very Earthly evil in writer/director Stellan Kendrick’s horror short Goodnight, Gracie (2017). Though less than four minutes long, the film creates a looming sense of dread and packs quite a wallop in a stunningly presented effort.

Elementary school-aged Gracie (Caige Coulter) is resting in her room when she hears a commotion downstairs. Clutching her stuffed lamb and Jesus flashlight, she investigates, only to find that her stepfather Billy (Courtney Gaines, genre stalwart of Children of the Corn fame) is hacking her mother (Zoë Simpson Dean) to pieces with an axe. It’s a grisly sight, and the first clue for viewers that anything goes in this short. Needless to say, Billy eyes Gracie as his next target.

Stellan Kendrick wrings maximum suspense out of his film, and the sound design is a big part of Goodnight, Gracie’s effectiveness. The moody lighting is another powerful factor, as are S. Peace Nistades’ haunting score and Julia Swain’s captivating cinematography.

Caige Coulter’s performance is outstanding. Her portrayal of a terrified child who prays for safety as a murderous maniac tries to break into her bedroom is heart-wrenching. Coulter has 35 film credits to her name already, and a bright future in acting ahead of her. Courtney Gaines, who has shown that he can play comedy and drama as well as horror fare, turns in an absolutely blood-chilling performance here.

Stellan Kendrick has crafted a truly disturbing horror short grounded in reality. The premise of a child being stalked by a madman is troubling enough, but add to that the fact that the protagonist saw this man as a parental figure, and things become even more unsettling. Kendrick also adds some commentary about religion to Goodnight, Gracie, which is certain to spark some discussion among viewers.

Goodnight, Gracie will receive its world premiere at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in October. For more information, visit the film’s official website at https://www.goodnightgraciefilm.com/ or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GNGraciefilm/.

(3.5 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry’s formative years were spent watching classic monster movies (starting with "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Godzilla Vs. the Thing") and TV series (starting with "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits"), Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features" and Roy Shires’ Big Time Wrestling (two northern California legends); reading Silver Age and Bronze Age Gold Key, Dell, Charlton, Marvel, and DC comics; and writing mimeographed newsletters about the original "Planet of the Apes" film and TV series. More recently, he has written for "Filmfax" magazine, is the foreign correspondent reporter for the "Horror News Radio" podcast, and is a regular contributing writer to "Phantom of the Movies’s VideoScope" magazine, occasionally proudly co-writing 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.
Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry’s formative years were spent watching classic monster movies (starting with "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Godzilla Vs. the Thing") and TV series (starting with "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits"), Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features" and Roy Shires’ Big Time Wrestling (two northern California legends); reading Silver Age and Bronze Age Gold Key, Dell, Charlton, Marvel, and DC comics; and writing mimeographed newsletters about the original "Planet of the Apes" film and TV series. More recently, he has written for "Filmfax" magazine, is the foreign correspondent reporter for the "Horror News Radio" podcast, and is a regular contributing writer to "Phantom of the Movies’s VideoScope" magazine, occasionally proudly co-writing 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.
http://tastethemilkofchocula.blogspot.kr/