Wow, just where do I start on a review of MAB?

Do I wax lyrical about it being a ‘folksy’ horror that practically bubbles with menace, playing with an audience’s imagination and expectations like a cat would toy with a mouse?

Do I gush over how this is yet another massive step forward for writer/director Katie Bonham, building on her previous work and offering up a fresh slice of genre deliciousness, while at the same time conjuring up something very recognisable in terms of the Bonham imprint?

Do I rave about the excellent soundtrack (courtesy of Patrick Fagan), the fine performances, the superb set design and attention to detail?

Well, yes to all of the above really.

Any regular readers of this site will know that we have been on board ‘Bonham’s Bloody Bus’ practically since day one – in fact I’m pretty proud to say that I think we may well be the first people to have given her a full-length interview back in the day.

The downside to that of course is that you always have that sneaking suspicion that along will come a piece of work that when you sit down to drink it in, you end up with the words ‘Well, that wasn’t as good as the last one…’ swirling around in your head.

MAB is definitely NOT one of those pieces of work.

Opening things up with multiple locations and a 15-minute running time, Bonham has once again delved into that murky world where urban mundanity meets the supernatural, offering up the tale of Rosie (Maria-Teresa Daher-Cusack) a youngster who runs mysterious errands for her down-on-her-luck, off-hand mother Kris (Lucy Clements).

These errands see Rosie taking a journey into the woods to meet Mab (Carolyn Saint Pe), delivering such seemingly-innocent artefacts as locks of hair on behalf of her mother.

To say just what Mab does with these packages would be to give the game away – but let’s just say it doesn’t turn out good for a number of people…

There is so much going on here, and Bonham juggles the differing plot strands deftly, mixing the elements of time lapses and sound to great effect.

We have little in the way of gore or effects, but the clever trick is that you know that they are there just below the surface, threatening to break out at any given moment.

And, after all, we genre fans can always imagine things much more graphic than could ever be shown on screen, right?

This is not cheap-and-nasty schlock, this is horror for the mind and soul.

Somebody please give this director a feature to work on…

 

Images courtesy of Mike Shawcross

Short Film Review: MAB
4.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.