Thoughts and Prayers Adrianne Palicki HollyShorts Film Festival

‘Reverse Exorcism,’ ‘Too Rough,’ ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ Shine At HollyShorts Film Festival – Reviews

Home » ‘Reverse Exorcism,’ ‘Too Rough,’ ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ Shine At HollyShorts Film Festival – Reviews

The 18th annual HollyShorts Film Festival just wrapped up last week and I had the pleasure of watching quite a number of incredible entries while covering it for the first time. This has already become a must-attend festival for me. Here are some of the highlights:

Pretty Pickle

An odd little entry focused on a couple where a man starts suspecting something strange is going on with his girlfriend. As it turns out, she may have a bit of a devious streak. Pretty Pickle features lots of sex and intrigue with some cool graphics used in there, but I ultimately was a little confused as to what the point was.

Reverse Exorcism

A dude at a party argues with his inner demon, that he actually wants to keep,  in a hilarious, creative short.


A creepy little film reminiscent of Rob Savage’s Host, Glitch sees a mother observicing a ghostly entity behind her daughter on FaceTime. Solid acting and quick camera movements deliver an effective little horror.


Creative yet ultimately directionless, She takes place in a futuristic setting where humans have abandoned their android beings and one decides it’s time to move on. Though the visuals are impressive, the audio leaves something to be desired, the alterations of the characters’ speech muffling the dialogue. The film ends with a sequence that is largely predictable, but the arrival of the credits is sudden and unearned.


A PSA featuring the likes of Idris Elba and Morgan Freeman, Embarrassed is an effective promotion of health for Black men as 1 in 4 are likely to get prostate cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 22 will die. Short, sweet, to the point.

Thoughts and Prayers

Adrianne Palicki quarterbacks an emotionally effective film highlighting the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in the country and Congress’ inability to act. After a gun control bill is defeated due to one particular Senator’s (played by Zachary Levi) “no” vote, Palicki’s character receives a call from her son who is in the middle of an active shooter incident at his school. The dialogue and acting is gripping and horrifying, the ending insightful and poignant. Palicki absolutely shines here.


Sticking with the gun violence focus, Crosshairs didn’t quite do it for me. Two young friends take a gun to the woods with one running back home after a rabbit was shot. I’m not quite sure what the point was, to be honest.

The Problem with Time Travel

Starting with the opening credits that are unreadable due to poor color choice, The Problem with Time Travel is an odd and quirky look at climate change that just doesn’t hit the target. It’s distractingly goofy. “See you comfortably on the veranda.” IYKYK.


An alien abduction story where we find out the woman is pregnant. Again, the point?

Love It

This is a ridiculous entertaining short about two influencers taking pictures at walls around the city. It’s twisted and funny with a hilarious original song, culminating in a sudden ending that leaves the remaining woman googling what to do. #blessed lol

Into the Flame

An abstract animated offering uniquely presented with flat visuals and colors, the character design is neat, but the ultimate messaging is lost on me.

Too Rough

Hands down the standout of the festival for me, Sean Lionadh’s Too Rough is an emotional powerhouse of a film. When Nick and his boyfriend Charlie wake up in Nick’s bedroom after a night of drinking, Nick panics as he attempts to keep Charlie away from his dysfunctional and homophobic family. An abusive father, drinking and drugs everywhere… the setting is ripe for drama. There are scenes that brought me to tears, mainly centered around a boy (Nick) who doesn’t feel like he can be loved, someone who ultimately needs someone to protect him as he protects his brother from the chaos of the household. I had the opportunity to speak with Sean (here) and highly recommend checking this out.

Learn more about the HollyShorts Film Festival here.

What Do You Think?

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