[Review] Fused: A Suffering Woman Can’t Trust Herself in Engrossing Psychological Horror Short

Prolific filmmaker Patrick Rea, whose features include Nailbiter and Arbor Demon, is a master of the short horror film craft. His latest short, Fused, combines body and psychological horror with mystery, and is another winning effort for the director.

Sarah (Sarah McGuire, House of Forbidden Secrets) visits her doctor (Jennifer Femiano, who also appeared in Rea’s family film Belong to Us) about a puzzling skin condition that is spreading quickly. Sarah has also been reclusive of late. Her lover Cassie (Katie Rohlfing of the horror short Remee) comes over uninvited, wanting answers to why Sarah has been avoiding her.  Sarah confides that she has been suffering from blackouts and memory loss, and that terrible things have happened during those times. She asks Cassie to stay and watch over her to see if her suspicions are true. I have deliberately left out some information about Sarah because I feel it would be giving too much away, and this gripping short should be seen going in as fresh as possible. 

Written by Rea and Michelle Davidson, Fused is eerie and suspenseful. The pacing is perfect for this 18-minute short, which could well serve as the first act of a feature-length treatment. McGuire is outstanding as the deeply troubled Sarah, and Rohlfing plays against her wonderfully as her concerned but easygoing lover. All of the production values of Fused are terrific.

Fused has screened at Nightmares Film Festival, Days of the Dead, Mad Monster Party, and Slasher Film Festival, and is sure to be accepted as part of many future festivals. Rea’s latest is strongly recommended by this reviewer.

Check out Gruesome Magazine’s reviews of some of Rea’s previous horror shorts, including Justice Served, Howl of a Good Time, and Pillow Fright.

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.