Short Horror Reviews: Andrea Ricca - Supernatural
To wrap up this review trilogy, we'll be tackling a few short films about ghosts, demons, and other horrors!
We're now in the final leg of this three-part review series, and it's been quite the bumpy ride. While the expedition has unearthed a few diamonds in the rough, there's been just as many duds found along the way. Now, having gone through Andrea Ricca's monster movies and alien flicks, it's time to delve into the last category of this review saga: supernatural horrors. Will the paranormal realm and Andrea Ricca be a winning combination and finish this trilogy on a high note? Let's find out!
The Spooky Ghost:
The Spooky Ghost opens on a standard horror movie plot. After her car runs out of gas, a woman (Francesca Simonelli) goes to a nearby house seeking help--but instead finds a ghost intent on terrorizing her. Instead of playing this premise for paranormal frights, The Spooky Ghost goes down the horror-comedy route. The titular ghost's design is as goofy as can be, and it would seem the spirit is more focused on trolling Simonelli than killing her. The mood is certainly heavier on comedy than horror, and is wacky and dense enough to rub some viewers the wrong way.
The Spooky Ghost's main problem lies in its pacing and humor, as the film hits a couple of bumps that drag the story down and the comedy sparsely feels as zany as it could've been. However, there are a fair amount of comedic bits that work (a highlight being a hilarious but understated reference to Ghostbusters) and Simonelli's protagonist is moderately clever and fun to watch duel her ghostly foe. It's uneven and won't suit everyone's taste, but for what it gets right, The Spooky Ghost makes for a fairly enjoyable haunted house comedy.
Score: 5.5 out of 10 "For Sale" signs.
The Spirit Board:
Ilaria Lamberti returns to the Andrea Ricca universe in The Spirit Board, playing a woman who finds a Ouija board in her new home and decides to try it out. The results prove far more disturbing than she expected, and she's soon locked in an intense battle for her life. While the concept is far from new, The Spirit Board excels in how action-packed it is. After taking the appropriate amount of time to establish the scene and the short's main character, Ricca throws you right into the Ouija board terrors. Lamberti's predicament only gets wilder as it goes on, culminating in a memorably insane climax.
The Spirit Board is also memorable for how well it builds up tension as Lamberti's Ouija session spirals into chaos, as well as how effectively creepy her demonic tormentor looks. Add in a fierce heroine played well by Lamberti, and you have a strong short horror film perfect for watching on a dark and eerie night.
Score: 8 out of 10 Halloween sale texts.
The Ouija Board Secret:
In another Ouija board horror short, a grieving man (Andrea Ricca) attempts to make contact with his late wife--only for his makeshift seance to go terribly wrong. On the surface, it would appear The Ouija Board Secret isn't much different than The Spirit Board. But just when it seems the film is going down the same path, The Ouija Board Secret suddenly makes a deviation through its midpoint twist, which leads into a finale that is considerably darker than Ricca's usual fare. The CGI continues to show improvement over the films in Ricca's collection that I initially explored, as does Ricca's performance as the film's unexpectedly complex protagonist.
Counteracting this engaging plot is the movie's lack of consistent action, which The Ouija Board Secret's two-minute runtime only makes more noticeable. Had the runtime been a few minutes longer, it could've made room for more thrills to complement the character-driven script. But with the film having so much good going for it in terms of writing, The Ouija Board Secret works with the tension it does cultivate and becomes another chilling short film about a seance gone awry.
Score: 7 out of 10 pillows.
Technology becomes a vessel for evil in this short film, which stars Andrea Ricca as a man whose steamy text conversation with a lover is interrupted by a strange creature that keeps appearing in his photos. Smartphone Demon is far from the first scary movie to make selfies frightening. It's not even the first short film I've come across on the Internet with this basic "Monster Appearing in Someone's Selfies" premise. That, combined with the film's short length, leaves Smartphone Demon with a heavy sense of unoriginality.
That being said, the film is still watchable in its simplicity. Ricca continues to show acting growth from his flat delivery in Spider Danger, and the film maintains a spooky atmosphere for most of its runtime. It's unlikely to be anyone's favorite Ricca flick, but for what it is, you could do worse than give the Smartphone Demon a call.
Score: 5 out of 10 cleavage selfies.
The Water Ghost:
As befitting its title, The Water Ghost has Andrea Ricca encountering a disturbing apparition whose appearance is linked to water sources. While the unique quirk and effectively horrific ghost design do a little to give The Water Ghost an edge over similar short films, it still replicates Smartphone Demon's problem with having too short a runtime to have a satisfying amount of thrills and chills. But since it also replicates the previously reviewed film's intense atmosphere and boasts a more impressive title monster, this ghost earns itself a slight advantage over the demon.
(Also, stay tuned in the above video for two other Ricca-directed features that I might review in the future--alongside other Ricca films that are currently in the works--if they ever receive their own individual YouTube releases)
Score: 5.5 out of 10 showerheads.
Bonus Film: Fear of the Serial Killer
To end this list, we have a bonus review of a film that doesn't fit into the supernatural theme, but one that I didn't want to leave all alone while I reviewed all the other movies on Andrea Ricca's YouTube channel. In this super short film (narrowly clocking in at a minute), Ricca plays a man whose evening is interrupted by the news of a serial killer escaping from jail.
Fear of the Serial Killer makes for the third film in a row to buckle under its time constraints. Between the opening and the plot twist reveal is hardly any room to build up suspense or tension, and the shocking twist becomes obvious a bit too early to hit as hard as was intended. Ricca's performance remains as solid as the other films on this list, but between the suffocating time constraint and stagnant thrills, Fear of the Serial Killer falls flat.
Score: 3.5 out of 10 muted news bulletins.
For this review trilogy's finale, I was presented with another mixed bag of quality. While The Spirit Board and The Ouija Board Secret were entertaining gems, films like The Water Ghost and especially Fear of the Serial Killer slipped below the mark. Given how both of these movies faltered in part to how restrictively short they were, I find myself wondering if Andrea Ricca would benefit from directing longer films. It would definitely give him the space to practice more creativity, in addition to world/character development and tension building.
For the most part, though, Ricca's films have shown his capacity for using shorter time lengths to tell fun and spooky stories. He's also shown off his ability in other films to bring humor and occasional depth to such bite-size tales. Here's hoping that Ricca and company continue to learn and grow, and I'll have to be sure to keep an eye on his channel for any upcoming movies. If you want to keep tabs on Ricca yourself or check out his other content, click this link to check out his YouTube channel or this one to go to his official website.