Writer/director Mia Kate Russell explores the potential terrors of inaction in her Australian short film Maggie May, which offers up some of the most disturbing horrific images in recent memory, both onscreen and offscreen.
Something is dreadfully wrong with Maggie (Lulu McClatchy of the 2012 features Crawlspace and 6 Plots), and though her relatives and other mourners gathered at her home to mourn the loss of her mother whisper to each other about it, no one has done much to intervene, it seems. When Maggie’s sister Sam (Katrina Mathers of Saw) announces that she is staying, along with her twin babies, to help Maggie — with Sam facing horrors of her own at her home — Maggie responds with her usual uncaring attitude, the same one that allowed her to announce that she “didn’t do anything” when her mother died in front of her. When Sam suffers an accident, the short washes viewers with dread as it heads toward its powerful conclusion.
Makeup Department Head and Special Effects Makeup artist Julian Dimase has done amazing work in Maggie May. To describe exactly what would be doing a grave disservice to those who haven’t yet seen the short, but suffice it to say that plenty of gore is on hand, and through a manner which even the most seasoned fright fare fans should find unique. One of the film’s most powerful moments, though, is an offscreen revelation that hits as hard as any of the incredible practical effects.
Both McClatchy and Mathers are superb, but the former’s turn as someone whose apathy goes into the territory of psychologically unwell is especially chilling. Russell does a top-notch job of building suspense and apprehension, and of addressing culturally widespread indifference in the intimate setting of a family dwelling.
Maggie May screens at FilmQuest, where it is has received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Lulu McClatchy. The festival runs at Velour in Provo, Utah, from September 6–14.
(4 / 5)