[Review] Prefigured (MidWest WeirdFest): Bound by a Mutual Mystery, a Group Seeks Answers from the Cosmos

Winner of MidWest WeirdFest’s Best Horror Short award, Zeshaan Younus’ Prefigured combines elements of both alien abduction and Lovecraftian cosmic horror. It weaves its spell slowly without a drop of blood or sensational special effects, nevertheless leaving viewers with a highly disquieting sense of eeriness.

Scarlett Redmond (of the series My Haunted House and True Nightmares) stars as a woman attending her first meeting with an esoteric group that seeks “Contact, communion, purpose, grace,” as its members chant. The group moderator (Nicholas Thurkettle of A Ghost Waits and Revelator) speaks of “cosmic congruence.” When another member (Ariel Barber of Stay) asks the new attendee to tell her story, the newcomer replies, “Why? You were there,” and in a flashback, further secrets are revealed.

Younus has crafted a short that relies on a somber tone, strong performances, and a discomfiting atmosphere to engage viewers, and he succeeds wonderfully in these areas. Justin Moore’s crisp cinematography gives the basement of a church, where much of the short is set, an eldritch feeling, and gives the short’s main exterior shot an equally creepy sense. In only a 10-minute running time and two locations, Younus manages to set up a complete world — one that is ripe for further exploration in the form of a feature-length film.  

Prefigured screened at MidWest WeirdFest, which took place March 6–8 at Micon Cinemas Downtown in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 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.