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 / 5)