“Undress Me” (2017): Haunting, Metaphorical Body-Horror Short Boasts Disturbing Special Effects

Writer/director Amelia Moses tackles body horror, social anxiety, and the potential aftermaths of unsafe sex straight-on in her unnerving, disturbing short film Undress Me. Although these themes may have been explored in both feature-length and short films before, Moses makes her mark with a chilling character study featuring truly disturbing special effects, and offers food for thought regarding different interpretations of her short.

College freshman Alice (Lee Marshall) seems to be a loner who is determined to fit in at her new surroundings. She attends a fraternity party but initially finds herself a wallflower. After Eric (Leigh Alderson), a slightly older fraternity member, strikes up a conversation with her, Alice awkwardly tries to mimic seductive gestures that she sees happening around the living room and then asks to see his bedroom. The two have sex, and then starting soon after, Alice begins peeling off parts of her skin – and that is just the beginning phase. Even a shocking shower scene is merely a build-up to the gory climax of Undress Me.

Moses packs a great deal into the short’s brief running time (about 14 minutes including credits), and she paces her film well, allowing viewers to get an idea of Alice’s emotional discomfort before building up the horrific metamorphosis that she goes through. Special effects artist K McDonald and makeup artist Ana-Maria Cimpoia bring Alice’s decline to horrific, gut-churning cinematic life. Marshall gives a superb performance as the unfortunate Alice, and Alderson is solid as the young man with whom she begins her downward spiral.

Undress Me is currently on a film festival run, including screenings at the current Fantasia International Film Festival and the upcoming FilmQuest. For more information, including future screenings, visit https://www.facebook.com/UndressMeFilm/.

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.