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Smear – Short Film Review

The regular pap test is often seen as a gruesome but necessary procedure for women over the age of 25. It’s an uncomfortable process which sees us ladies, legs akimbo, with a septum shoved up our hoo-haa, and parts of our insides scraped out. It’s all in the name of monitoring cancerous cells, and it is super important, but it is also spoken in hushed spooked tones across the community of people with vaginas.

One of our favourite directors, Kate Herron, has subverted the procedure and developed a humorous comedy horror short conveying a rather bizarre treatment for an unlucky patient. Smear revolves around women goes to the doctors for her first examination, only for two green and squeaking tentacles to come creeping out of her privates and attack the doctors…

This  brilliant and terrific comic short is a cheeky take on the infamous test (that conveys a somewhat underlying important message.) At merely four minutes long, the movie is an inventive little horror ditty starring two labia detailed tentacles. They seethe, pulsate, and crawl from within and murder anyone stopping them. This is all set to an exciting soundtrack (honestly monsters have never been so spry) that is reminiscent of classic shock movies such as The Blob or The Fly, with a quirky edge .

The acting is on point as each character approaches the situation in a marvellously British way. From Nick Mohammad’s concerned doctor to Rose Johnson (star in Herron’s previous short Valentine,) as “Dr. Coward”, whose comedic delivery is one of the best of the year. Of course, there’s our leading lady Sophie Di Martino as Chloe, whose frightful yet determined performance keeps the film grounded in realism to the climatic end.

Smear is great proof that Herron is increasingly becoming a director to watch, especially when it comes to the surrealist and dark comedy. A dab hand at utilising cutaways and when exactly to play. Yes, there is an element of silliness to this film but, honestly., some of the best movies have that degree of  ridiculousness – adding to the atmosphere and the humour. Herron is a keen and inventive director, which is gloriously showcased here.

Just… it may be a while until you uncross your legs…

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