Winner of MidWest WeirdFest’s Best Horror Short award, Zeshaan Younus’ Prefigured combines elements of both alien abduction and Lovecraftian cosmic horror. It weaves its spell slowly without a drop of blood or sensational special effects, nevertheless leaving viewers with a highly disquieting sense of eeriness.
Scarlett Redmond (of the series My Haunted House and True Nightmares) stars as a woman attending her first meeting with an esoteric group that seeks “Contact, communion, purpose, grace,” as its members chant. The group moderator (Nicholas Thurkettle of A Ghost Waits and Revelator) speaks of “cosmic congruence.” When another member (Ariel Barber of Stay) asks the new attendee to tell her story, the newcomer replies, “Why? You were there,” and in a flashback, further secrets are revealed.
Younus has crafted a short that relies on a somber tone, strong performances, and a discomfiting atmosphere to engage viewers, and he succeeds wonderfully in these areas. Justin Moore’s crisp cinematography gives the basement of a church, where much of the short is set, an eldritch feeling, and gives the short’s main exterior shot an equally creepy sense. In only a 10-minute running time and two locations, Younus manages to set up a complete world — one that is ripe for further exploration in the form of a feature-length film.
Prefigured screened at MidWest WeirdFest, which took place March 6–8 at Micon Cinemas Downtown in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.(4 / 5)