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[Fantasia ’21] ‘Thumb’ review: Horror short looks at influences & art

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Thumb visits one of horror’s most trusted themes. Overbearing mothers have been a part of the genre for decades. Playing as part of the Small Gauge Trauma horror shorts showcase at the Fantasia Film Festival, the film uses familiar horror tropes to deliver a scary story about family and art. Things get off to a foreboding start. There are echoes of a haunted house story as the daughter (Kate Adams) of a (in)famous performance artist sorts through the crates of her deceased mother.

Thumb moves beyond being about a scary house, however. Still, the setting plays a big factor as the plot unravels. The entire short takes place in the house and jump scares are used to maximum effect. That can be said of the whole production. The film takes place almost entirely in two rooms and with basically two actors. The characters keep audiences interested, though there is a plot thread involving a past relationship that ends up going nowhere.

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[Fantasia '21] 'Thumb' review: Horror short looks at influences & art

The music are the heavy strings that would be expected and do a magnificent job of heightening the terror. But it is the story that will draw audiences in. For all the scares that are in Thumb, it is the strong feelings that resonate most strongly. The female led production is about influences and the effect they have on a person’s life. It is something everyone can understand, and that may be the most frightening part of all.

The Fantasia Film Festival takes place in person and online from August 5 – August 25

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