[Review] Breakfast (Arrow Video FrightFest): A Sickly Woman Wakes Up with a Frightening Appetite

Breakfast is a gripping Australian shocker short blending body horror with another fright-fare aspect that would be criminal to spoil here. Written by Paul Beattie and codirected by Beattie and Melanie Rios, Breakfast delivers an eerie tale featuring differing character perspectives and a chilling atmosphere throughout. 

Katherine (Rebecca Smee) has been sick and bedridden for quite a while, but she wakes up one morning and finds her senses heightened — for example, the birds outside sound really loud, and her vision and sense of smell seem unusually strong, too. She is hungry, and begins to fix herself a breakfast of fried eggs and sausage. Rushes of sudden, fleeting visions begin to overwhelm her (with some fine editing at play here). 

When her husband Daniel (Brendan Donoghue) comes into the kitchen, he is startled by what he sees. Here, perspective changes as viewers notice that Daniel sees things much differently than Katherine, with light and shadow play, combined with unsettling makeup work by Brooke Jones and Gabby Peppler, adding a further sense of dread to the proceedings. Katherine is initially shocked back into reality before other forces take over. 

Smee gives a standout performance as her confused Katherine goes through gruesome changes. Donoghue and Jaxson Dimitrov, the latter as the couple’s young son, are both solid in their roles, as well.

Beattie and Rios craft an unnerving world using only a bedroom and a kitchen, managing to give everything from a fly to a piece of toast, to eggs and sausage, a disturbing feel, a sense of looming danger. Viewers see from the beginning that things are not right with the bandaged Katherine, and they only get worse as new information is slowly revealed. The cinematography from Jake Sissons and Carl Mason splendidly captures these and other images in disquieting shots, while Andrew Casa’s excellent sound design adds a whole other level of uneasiness.  

Breakfast screened as part of Arrow Video FrightFest’s 2020 digital edition, which ran from August 28–31.

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.