When a young woman fills in for her friend on a babysitting job, she begins to suspect things are not as they seem. She's right.
The short film, Feeding Time has been chewing its way across the film festival landscape — with showings in over 20 festivals!
I first saw it at last year’s Screamfest, and will again be viewing it at next month’s 4th Annual Filmquest in Provo, Utah.
And it’s a good one to watch multiple times – not that it’s incredibly nuanced and that each viewing reveals some other secrets – no, it’s simply a hoot of a fun time and a lovely callback to ‘80s horror.
Teenaged Sasha (Stacy Snyder) has been asked to fill in for her buddy Melanie – for a last minute babysitting gig. When she arrives to the home, she’s greeted by the eccentric (and oddly-bespectacled) couple – Dale (Beyond the Gates’ Graham Skipper) and Vicki (Contracted’s Najarra Townsend). After a very awkward exchange and the usual directions for baby care – the couple hurriedly departs. As the evening draws on, and Sasha has a deep texting conversation with her boyfriend – noises upstairs will eventually take her into the baby’s room – where she’ll discover what her babysitting gig is really all about.
I was most impressed with the editing here – certainly in the opening conversation between Sasha, Vicki and Dale. The breakneck pace of the back and forth cuts, nicely match the seeming desperation of the couple to get out of the house and their overall weirdness.
The performances from the three actors (there are only the three) are spot-on. Skipper and Townsend are appropriately kooky, mysterious and creepy. And their acting choices are bold, to suit the characters (you’ll learn plenty more about who they are by the film’s end).
As for the lead, Stacy Snyder is a great teenaged, valley-girl type – permanently connected to her phone. But even in this broad bit of horror, she still has a few opportunities to present a realistic character. Of note is her silent response as she waits on a text reply from her boyfriend. She’s genuine in these few quieter moments, but can still sell the danger when the time comes for her to enter “Scream Queen” territory.
Even with tinges of comedy, the film still finds solid footing when trying to scare us. There’s nothing new as far as a babysitting investigating noises upstairs from her infant ward – but the lighting, camerawork and editing serve to create just the right amount of tension.
All of the gore/special effects are practical, which further cements the feel of an ‘80s horror classic. And with the welcome effects work of Josh and Sierra Russell (Beyond the Gates, Southbound) behind the bloody goodness, you know you’re in for some gore-filled treats!
There’s certainly room for expansion into a feature film format – but as is, Feeding Time is a 12-minute horror delight. And the two little buttons/reveals which conclude the film – are perfectly ironic, well-placed and nicely set up.
Feeding Time was written, edited and directed by Matt Mercer – perhaps most well known as the lead actor in Contracted: Phase II.
The film will be playing at Filmquest on that festival’s closing night (Saturday, September 16th, 2017) – in the 7pm block – as one of the opening shorts for the feature film Gnaw.