Shortcake #3 – “Panic attack!” and “Mamá”

In a blink of an eye, yet another week has passed. It makes you stop and think about the transience of life… But who has the time. Instead of that, I’m just glad I get to have my weekend again. This also means I get to share some shorts again. I’ve been really hard at work trying to figure out the direction this column will have (I get to call it a column now, right?) and while I’d really like to showcase mostly new things that I dig out myself or stumble across while trawling blogs and websites, I think I’d like to reserve some space for shorts that already belong in the past.

Mama - Panic Attack

Tonight I’d like to share these two very short forms that have more in common that one would imagine in the first place. I specifically chose these films, even though initially I wanted to write about something different (I might do it next week still if nothing better falls in my lap). The reason I decided to put them side by side is that they had been the perfect vehicles for their creators to get fished out from the crowd and given an opportunity to show the world what they’re capable of.

And so, the first film of the day – “Panic attack!” from 2009 by Fede Alvarez – is a meticulously crafted account of aliens(?) attacking Montevideo (the capital of Uruguay). It’s very short and bullet-like and reminiscent of a video clip rather than of a movie in its traditional sense. What is the most interesting in my opinion about “Panic attack!” is that its budget amounted to 300$, which is quite impressive when you examine the quality of the film. It’s really well shot and the special effects hold up to the modern sci-fi standards. Certainly, you’re unable to smell the cheapness that is far too common among the amateur science fiction.


I dare say that the perfectionist quality and passion that went into this little project had something to do with the fact that Fede Alvarez – a film-maker who has done nothing more than father a couple of short movies – was chosen by Sam Raimi to direct a remake of “Evil Dead” – one of the most important horror movies of all time (have a look at the red band trailer if you dare) and by the looks of it, come April 2013 we’re going to experience a whole new level of ‘horror’.

The second feature of the day is “Mamá” by Andrés Muschietti – created back in 2008, but released in December of 2012 as a part of marketing campaign for a full-length feature of the same title. That’s right. “Mama”, that is now running in cinemas across the pond and is about to drop in the UK in a month’s time, is what “Mamá” could have never been; a properly funded horror story with a professional cast and everything.


“Mamá” is a ghost story about two girls whose mother doesn’t want to leave them alone. It’s not exactly a story even, but more of an extended scene. However, it was more than enough for Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) to notice the young director’s talent and allow him to tell the story the way it was supposed to be told. Now, I haven’t seen the feature film yet, but I’m more than keen to watch it once it opens in The Rainy Isles.

All in all, I give you “Panic attack!” and “Mamá” – two films that share more than just Spanish-speaking directors. They both tell me I should pay closer attention to the short form, as one day I might be a witness to the birth of a glamorous career of a fantastic talent.