Film Festivals Gruesome Reviews Super Scary Shorts Saturday

[Review] Together (Nightmares Film Festival): Unnerving Horror Short Offers Plenty of Food for Thought

Writer/director Ryan Oksenberg balances the macabre and the meditative, the ghoulish and the gorgeous, and the pensive and the putrid in his beautifully shot horror short Together. Characters suffering from damaged souls and physical sickness find themselves in close quarters with one another, and the result is an intriguing, contemplative work.

Arielle Hader (of Recovery and Stained, both 2019) stars as Julia, the owner of a biohazard remediation cleaning service who, in a desperate time crunch, hires a man named Clayton (Clayton Farris of the American Horror Story and Scream Queens TV series) to help with a gruesome job. Clayton throws himself into his work, disposing of the blood and body parts in a stomach-churning manner. Julia is disgusted by his actions and wants no part of him, but he insists he has an illness, and besides, he caught her writing a fake suicide note. 

Oksenberg fills his short with parallels. Though abundant gore is on display, Together is filled with beautiful cinematography courtesy of J.D. Butler; a peaceful, idyllic setting is shattered by a sudden act of violence; Julia is running her business to deal with her emotional issues, while Clayton is doing what he does because of a physical need; and amidst grief, there is humor. 

Together is a reflection on death, and how people choose to address their pain and heartache surrounding it. Besides being expertly crafted and acted, and having a superb story, the short packs an emotional wallop certain to linger with viewers longs after its closing credits end.

Together screens at Nightmares Film Festival, which runs in Columbus, Ohio from October 24–27.

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 "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He 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.
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 "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He 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.