The world of short films has always been an exciting one for those willing to embrace the format – both in giving insight into future filmmakers and offering short narrative tales that can be instantly impactful. This statement is even more prevalent within the horror genre, with many notable names working in the format before moving on to bigger projects.

As such, I am always excited to jump into the format when a title crosses my path that seems intriguing. That leads us to Cult Affairs by Nate Thompson – an indie horror short I decided to dive deep into to see what I could find.

What is it About? 

“Following a business arrangement gone wrong, Mr. James is brought before the very Cult he crossed to figure out a proper solution. It’s on the inside, where they realize, the Devil truly lives.”

Cult Affairs was written and directed by Nate Thompson. It stars Nygel Sejismundo, Nate Thompson, Joshua Moore, Tee Rupp and Javon Harris.

Cult Affairs Short Film

What Worked

The production really excels in creating an atmosphere of dread through visual and Audio distortion. The smoky visuals obscure the room that gives it a bigger sense of space, complimented by wonderful lighting and framing of the key characters. The score,  a wonderfully grainy/vintage nightmare, sets the scene perfectly – notably as the sound start to skip near the final moments.

While it is obvious the cast rests as largely inexperienced as performers, there is a certain bravado within Thomson’s performance that is rather endearing. The sunken figure muttering in the corner gearing up for some ultra-violence was an enjoyable transformation to witness.

Finally, there is something to be said to create a short reliant on a core concept that does not deviate into absurdity or try to be more than it is for the sake of capturing attention. The scenario presented is perfectly haunting, and Thompson lives in that space from start to finish – showing a justified confidence in the approach. 

What Didn’t Work

The dialogue within the film feels a bit contrived/heavy-handed, teetering on camp – I almost expected to hear the dreaded utterance of, “We’re not so different, you and I”. That said, whether the audience disconnects from the dialogue or finds profundity within will probably vary. 

Overall Thoughts

Director Nate Thompson has crafted a deviously fun short film, a strong concept with potent visual and audio flair. However, I do think the scripting could use some work as the dialogue feels rather contrived and in need of more backstory to adequately resonate with audiences. Overall, I enjoyed my time with Cult Affairs and am excited to see how Thompson develops as a creator.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though, and may check the full short film below. Where I saw campiness, other viewers might find charm, so jump in and give it a shot!


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