UPDATED 3/27/2020: The short itself is now embedded below. Enjoy!
Anthology series like Black Mirror are well and good, but we need something back like Night Gallery, where creepy stories can be quick black-outs or short narratives instead of full episodes. I say this because there needs to be a place where fun horror shorts live on after the festival circuit. Sure, there’s YouTube or Vimeo, but we need somewhere for these things to live. Case in point: Adria Tennor’s “Pie,” which had its world premiere at Cinequest 2018 as part of the Shorts Program “Mindbenders.”
Admittedly, it’s not a groundbreaking piece, but thankfully Tennor knows that, too. She doesn’t belabor the “secret ingredient.” Instead, the set-up is an exercise in dramatic irony, with nervous giggles stemming from the almost 50s-sitcom conversation between Carol (Tennor) and her guest Annette (Jessica Pare). The perfectly put together pair sit over a serving of cherry pie; of course, we’ve seen Carol’s preparation, which implied that in addition to fruit filling, there was a soupcon of ghoulishness. We know what’s going on — the question is, when will Annette?
But I believe it’s not the tale, it’s the telling that makes a short worth watching. Tennor believes in the power of suggestion, giving at best just glimpses of viscera, leaving far more to our imaginations. It fills “Pie” with a delightful sense of dread, and yet the twist may be more human than you’d think.