Everyone has baggage. Most people live their lives with the weight of something that has damaged them. At first, it’s heavy, crushing weight, possibly even debilitating. Over time, as wounds crust over and the strains of carrying all that weight results in the development of larger and stronger emotional and psychological musculature, the baggage is less of a burden.
Not so for Jenny (Vanessa Esperanza) in Horror House Media’s new horror short Love Me Not. Jenny is a lovesick psychopath who is just a wee bit clingy. After her most recent beau Brad (David Blanco) ghosts her, she decides to show him what an ass he’s been by hosting a little Valentine’s Day-colored dinner party that’s been accented in blood. The other guests are the corpses of every other lover who turned their backs on Jenny. And now Brad must fight to literally be the one who got away.
Esperanza (CSI: NY, Silent Cry Aloud) is phenomenal as Jenny, who spends much of the short’s 11-minute run time speechifying to a voiceless Brad about how mistreated and unlucky in love she is. Not only is she spattered with blood and wielding an ax, but her mascara has run around her eyes in a fashion that suggests both sadness and a Joker-style insanity. She’s wholly convincing in her delivery and presence.
Blanco as Brad is a perfect foil. He’s terrified, but mentally present in the moment. Although it’s easy for horror fans to cheer on the killer in a film like this (especially an empowered female killer), the empathy in this one leans toward Brad as you watch Jenny rage further out of control. If you’re a “shout at the screen” type, you might try to help Brad along as he attempts his getaway.
Although they are not credited on the production’s IMDB page, I found myself fascinated by the actors playing the corpses who were seated about the dinner table. Jenny uses them as visual aids while she lectures Brad, and to great effect. More interesting to me is that it is evident that Jenny has not restricted her love life to a single type of individual. The deceased exes are a diverse group, and even include another woman. Noticing this only hammers home the idea that it is Jenny, not her previous lovers, who was the problem in her relationships.
Written by Brantley J. Brown and directed by Michael Coulombe, Love Me Not is a thrilling insight into the need to be loved and the ultimate failure to accept rejection. You can watch the entire short on the Horror House Media YouTube channel.