Rating: 3 out of 5.

After dodging multiple invitations, a guilt-stricken Angela finally visits her parents for dinner, but she doesn’t feel welcomed…

Directed by Matty Crawford and written by Paul Carey, the short horror film “The Dinner After” explores themes of grief, guilt, and strained family dynamics. Lucy Doyle portrays Angela, a nervous and anxious character who is clearly unprepared to confront the unresolved issues she has with her parents, yet she reluctantly joins them for dinner, unaware of the nightmare that awaits her.

With a short 12 minute runtime, “The Dinner After” takes on a lot on its plate and yet manages to cook its limited ingredients into a watch-worthy little film. The opening scenes initially give the impression of a social-themed family film, and when Angela’s father mistakenly calls her by the wrong name, it briefly hints at a potential twin-related twist. However, as the conversation escalates into confrontation between Angela and her parents, the true horror theme becomes evident.

The film is shot well, with the creators skillfully foreshadowing the source of Angela’s problems through the house’s decor. However, some viewers might overlook some of the subtler detail. (Hint – pay attention to the photos) Lucy Doyle delivers a gripping performance as the tormented Angela, initially portraying her as a composed young woman knocking on her parents’ door but gradually unraveling as the evening progresses. On the other hand, the older actors, Joanna Brookes and Johan Ramm, who play Angela’s onscreen parents, come across as exaggeratedly theatrical in their delivery. While it’s possible they were instructed to be over the top, a touch more subtlety in their performance could have intensified the film’s creepiness.

“The Dinner After” is a pretty good watch for a 12-minute horror movie made by film students, although it does feel like a small chapter of a larger plot.

You can watch the film on YouTube, it’s also embedded below.