A man is stalked by people in creepy doll masks. As he tries to hide from these seemingly malicious individuals, we soon learn this man might not be the victim he appears to be.
Grisly Girls is a short horror film written and directed by Adam Van Dyke. The short begins by focusing on a man. He hides in his apartment while women in doll masks try to get to him. This opening scene gives off The Strangers: Prey at Night vibes, but it doesn’t take long for the viewers to learn something else is going on. From there the short film takes a turn into vigilante/revenge territory. What I really enjoyed about the plot is that it not only did some unexpected things, but there was a clear focus on women coming together and supporting each other. In a world where women are still victimized on a daily basis, showing that a network of women doing what they can to help each other is vital.
There is a wonderful, diverse cast in this short. The group of women is played by Dralla Aierken (Only Children), Tes Costcello, Margarita Hernandez, and Rachel La Scalla. While there are very few lines spoken throughout the short film, you still get a feel for their individual personalities. It comes through in the bit they speak, but mostly in their body language. Each of these women make me want to see more of the characters they portray. Dillon Daniel Mutyaba (The Call of the Wild) plays A.J., the target. Mutyaba does a great job of at one moment appearing to be the victim, but then showing us his dual nature. I am slightly conflicted about the filmmakers casting him to play the villain, especially with how the short ends, because he is a Black man and violence against Black men is a major issue. At the same time, a predator can have any color skin.
A lot of wonderful artistry went into creating Grisly Girls. For one, the doll masks are quite effective. While it’s not necessarily the most original choice, there is a reason horror filmmakers continue to use them; doll masks are creepy. The cinematography and colorful lighting, especially once A.J. is captured, is also absolutely stunning. It gives the film a bit of a punk edge that matches the violent action taken by the women. The score of Grisly Girls is absolutely fantastic. The electric music hits all the right notes and effectively gets you in the same mindset as these vigilante women.
Grisly Girls is a well crafted short film that shows women taking back their control. Van Dyke created a plot that works well as a short and still feels complete, yet I can see how easily it could be expanded into a feature-length film. There is really only one unanswered question I have after watching the short, but the rest of the story comes together so well it is fairly easy to overlook. Between the performances, the style, and the music, there is a lot to enjoy about Grisly Girls.
OVERALL RATING: 4/5