SXSW 2021 | SHORT FILM
SXSW 2021 PREMIERE: The Thing That Ate the Birds is a horror short that took only twelve minutes to complete, but nearly all night to eliminate the shivers it produced. Brought about by ALTER: A Gunpowder & Sky Company and directed/written by Sophie Mair and Dan Gitsham, The Thing That Ate the Birds is a special kind of horror short; one that leaves you haunted by the image of the creature living amongst man and intrigued by its origin, captivated by the drama of the humans within and horrified by the consuming feeling of dread as things draw to a close.
This short film feels settled by the closing credits, but also plagued with curiosity of the unexplained and in need of more expansion, which is something that a sequel or feature length equivalent could assist with. There’s something so recognizable about “the thing” that ate the birds, reminiscent of the phenomenal practical creature makeup from The Descent. The horror is surrounded by convincing drama between leads but only in a quick back and forth that gives you the idea that these arguments have been brewing for some time. It’s a fascinating piece for sure: weird, compelling, and just the right amount of brutal.