Review by Mark Schwab
February 6th, 2019
It begins as a pretty ordinary day at Finch's Flowers - a lovely, well-stocked corner store where Marla (Zoe Bullock) cheerfully works the register. Marla has one of those personalities that is so sunny, it alone could probably grow the flowers she sells. And why wouldn't she when the boyfriend she adores makes her lunches and leaves little love notes inside them? Marla has it good. Until an impeccably dressed and snobby young man (Craig Andrew Mooney) slides into the shop and suddenly she doesn't.
The problem for Marla that the filmmakers superbly exploit is that the prig who walked into the flower shop knows something that Marla doesn't. Worse for Marla, he knows that Marla doesn't know exactly what he knows. The filmmakers are merciless in the best way by holding back that something for as long as possible while the tension becomes oh so thick. It isn't a little something either...it's a BIG something that he uses to slowly chip away at Marla's incessant cheeriness. Even after we know this young man's reason for coming in to this exact flower shop, the film isn't done surprising us with a wild conclusion that makes you want to watch it from the beginning again.
I came to watch HIDEOUS knowing not a thing about it beforehand and I highly recommend you follow the same path to seeing it. And you should absolutely see it because writer Jim Rennie and director Hamish Robertson have crafted (yes, crafted) a wonderfully tense little situation with expert cinematography and scalpel-sharp performances (on my a second viewing, I really found myself smiling at what the filmmakers and actors were really up to). HIDEOUS is a wholly satisfying short film that builds creepiness on top of weirdness on top of surreal/absurdism that would make Luis Bunuel proud.