[“Tonight It’s You” is just one of the horror shorts from my “7 Halloween Shorts for 2020” post. To view the other shorts, head over to THIS post!]
Wow! You go to watch a horror short film and expect something horrific. But the “twist” in “Tonight It’s You” was NOT at all what I expected – I was pleasantly surprised !(And equally caught off guard – which is even better with horror films!) Let’s dive in to discuss what makes “Tonight It’s You” such a perfect queer horror short film.
Synopsis of “Tonight It’s You”
CJ (Jake Robbins) is lounging about in the park, another boring day. He gets an app notification from a “headless torso” profile with “Looking?”. Later that night, while laying on the sofa watching classic horror films, CJ finally replies back and arranges the hookup. Driving through the dark woods, lit only by his car’s headlights, he finally pulls up to a dark trailer in the woods. “Meet me in the shed out back, be quiet!” the guy texts him. The shed is dark, creepy, and is that blood on the wall? Suddenly Hunter (Ian Lerch) is standing behind CJ. Nervous and a bit “off”, Hunter awkwardly goes in for a kiss – and draws blood! But while CJ has some reservations, before long he follows Hunter into the back of the shed where they start making out, stripping off clothes, and having some hot sex! (Yes, we do see their sexy butts and very erotic tease of the front as pants are pulled down)
Afterwards while lingering in the hay enjoying the after-sex bliss, CJ hears a noise. Someone’s coming out of the trailer – “It’s my dad, Knox ()” Hunter whispers, telling him to stay quiet. But as soon as Hunter walks out of the shed, he gets berated by his dad and ordered inside to “have a talk”. Hunter quickly gets dressed and sneaks around the trailer to reach his car – but the dad is already looking at the car! Suddenly, a second vehicle pulls in and two people get out with flashlights. Nearly getting caught, Hunter quickly slips into one of the trailer windows – to find Hunter bound and gagged on the bed. But before CJ can release Hunter, everyone comes back into the trailer; CJ only just slips into the bathroom. It turns out that it’s a priest who begins to perform an exorcism to cast out the demon out of Hunter. Except it’s not the “demon” of homosexuality – no, it’s much worse! I won’t spoil all of the good bits, but just know that CJ is later able to drive home and escape this hookup nightmare. Or does he?
I lOVED “Tonight It’s You”. With the simple yet constantly twisting storyline, I was quickly drawn in and waiting for something horrific to happen (it IS a horror short after all!). But director Dominic Haxton, who also helped write the script, cautiously drags it out creating an ever building tension. Add in the hauntingly yet beautiful soundtrack, I was drawn in even further. In fact, all of that tension paired with the iconic Greek tragic “silent” scream (or orgasms in this erotic take) ends suddenly after they fuck. But that’s only to create a false sense of security to quickly cut into what makes this short film a thriller! Even then, we’re kept as lost and clueless as CJ while we struggle to determine is Hunter being abused by his dad, being kept as a sex slave, or upon realising that his dad called over a priest, is this homophobia taking us down a dark road? Nope – it’s better; we get demons and possession! Even the final scene leaves us questioning if it’s truly over – and THAT alone is a sign of an excellent script!
But the script is only part of the success of this short. Cinematographically, “Tonight It’s You” is just stunning. While most scenes are kept dark, it’s clearly intentional and not due to poor camera or lighting work. In fact, the production crew skilfully focuses the light only where it’s needed; the flame of the lighter highlighting both boys faces, the blue hue of the moon streaming in through the window landing on Hunter’s sexy butt as CJ pulls down the pants, keeping the lights dim and almost muddled while CJ tries to keep hidden in a pitch black bathroom. Highlighted by the eerie and haunting soundtrack, all of the pieces pull together to create an incredible short. Even the acting was quite believable. Jake Robbins‘s “CJ” is cocky, confident, and utterly terrified when forced to confront the surprising and dark demon Ian Lerch unearths from behind what initially seemed to be a quiet, shy shell.
If you want a short horror film that will keep you on edge while getting some queer representation, you can’t go wrong watching “Tonight It’s You”! Oh – and be careful on your next hookup. You never know what he’s really hiding in those pants!
Queer Relevance of “Tonight It’s You”
“Tonight It’s You” is obviously gay – our two male leads hookup! But there’s a few other queer relevancies: internet/online dating apps, the random hookups, driving to said random stranger’s home without knowing much about them, the thill and daring risk of the situation, et all. While it’s not exclusive to the queer community, they are aspects that we know all too well from decades of having to hide among the shadows and maintain anonymity.
But there’s another reason why I enjoy this horror short – it doesn’t use either character’s sexuality. One review noted that it was only “good” because it focused on the “gay agenda”. Frankly, if you switched the characters around and rather than two guys featured a heterosexual hookup – the horror still would’ve held strong! “Tonight It’s You” shows us that sexuality doesn’t matter – especially when it comes to horror. But it still adds a sexy hotness and an extra thrill!