[Review] “The Scarlet Vultures”: How Far Will a Person Go to Feel Special?

Prolific Canadian horror filmmaker Kyle Martellacci (Canada Day;  Candy Skin; I Make Corpses) delivers another stunning shocker with his latest effort, The Scarlet Vultures. An initially enigmatic piece that slowly reveals its dark secrets, the short has been garnering many award nominations during its current early film festival run.

Evelyn (Anne-Carolyne Binette) is being interviewed by a woman (Astrida Auza) as the film opens. Their relationship is unclear at first, but Evelyn has sought the woman out. In a flashback, while preparing food for her sister’s wake, Evelyn accidentally cuts herself and mixes her blood into cake batter, with guests commenting on how delicious the dessert is. Evelyn does some dark research into trying to replicate the taste of the original cake, but discovers that her blood may be special. With a deep-seated need for acceptance, she goes on an eerie journey to find out just how special she might be.

The Scarlet Vultures  has a rich, dreamlike quality, including several scenes bathed in vivid blue, purple, and red color palettes, with Martellacci deftly handling cinematography duties as well as being the writer, director, and editor. The short looks terrific, and the pacing of the slowly unfolding mystery behind Evelyn’s purpose for meeting with the interviewer is superb. Binette and Auza play off of each other well, with the former turning in an intriguing performance as a young woman seeking to fulfill a bizarre, disturbing potential. Mathew J. Rees’ unsettling score adds wonderfully to the dizzying allure of the proceedings.

The Scarlet Vultures holds many surprises for viewers, and packs a powerful climax. Martelacci has crafted a remarkable, trippy work that is hypnotic and unsettling.

For more information including festival screenings, visit https://www.redrazorpictures.com/

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.