Ride Baby Ride is a tightly condensed short film that packs a powerful punch to the patriarchy in its 6 minutes. Director Sofie Somoroff is no stranger to conjuring up razor-sharp shorts that centre on the unique experiences of women – one only has to read the premise of Love is a Fire to know that she has an eccentric and empowering vision as a director. As March is Women in Horror month it’s only fitting we spotlight this female-directed and led film as it explores the claustrophobic mechanics of navigating working in a male-dominated field as a woman. 


Celina Bernstein is both an actor and producer in Ride Baby Ride and commands the screen as a formidable vintage car mechanic who is grossly underestimated by the men in her field. Her unnamed character sets her sights on a gorgeous ruby red vintage 1978 Camaro. However, she is confronted by two lecherous men intent on objectifying her. The beginning of the film is ambiguous, although the men are sexualising Bernstein’s character and clearly have nefarious intentions, her steely and steadfast gaze stares unwaveringly back at the men – making it unclear if she was exploited or was able to have the upper hand on the duo before they could enact their sick fantasies. 

One thing is for sure, as soon as Bernstein’s character is isolated with the Camaro, the vehicle turns into a roaring creature, literally, as well as metaphorically, serving as a symbol for the degradation, sexualisation, and oppression of women. The film utilises a nostalgic and polished cinematography style with clear allusions to the 70s to highlight the niche Vintage world the character inhabits. The red and teal colours juxtapose each other throughout to represent the violence that Bernstein’s character is subjected to, both from the car and implicitly from the real male characters and to create a constant nauseating atmosphere. As the tension and threat rise, the setting of the film slowly becomes more confined: at first, the film is set outside, it then transitions to the insular world of the mechanic’s garage, to finally the oppressive enclosure of the car. This shift in setting could represent how women are confined to perform gendered expectations of a patriarchal society, and if they try to transcend these limitations they are punished. 


With the car serving as a metaphor for the trappings of the patriarchy, the image of the hand rising from the seats to grasp at Berstein’s character felt incongruous with the previous ambiguity that was created. The Camaro literally coming to life and being a lecherous beast created more tension and threat than the physical manifestation of a man’s hand. With that being said, Ride Baby Ride achieves a lot in its short running time with powerful use of special effects, impressive sound design that amplifies the claustrophobic setting, and a captivating performance from Bernstein despite having little to no script. Ride Baby Ride is a stylish and fun short that serves up a new Final Girl for women (or anyone!) to applaud for. 

You can watch Ride Baby Ride (2023) on Alter’s YouTube channel below.

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