7ft, Hairy and Handsome (2022)

Director: Kel Sneddon

Running Time: 7 Minutes

Starring: Mackenzie Paterson, Struan Sloan, Fin Watt

Retreating to his room, Nick (Mackenzie Paterson) is fearful of the bite marks he's received from an attack. In a panic, he calls his date Joe (Fin Watt) wishing to cancel their plans although this isn't the first time he's made an excuse before a date. Joe is understanding about Nick's anxiety, while also clarifying he longs for them to meet.

Central to Nick's worries are his appearance, having lied to his date about how he looks. As he understands that he was bitten by a werewolf, Nick hopes it will leave him looking as appealing as the title suggests. It's through this struggle about body image that writer/director Kel Sneddon reimagines the tropes of a transitioning body. What's usually presented as a monstrous other is reconfigured into a story about self-confidence and being comfortable in one's own skin that's delivered rather effectively.

Posing a threat is the hulking police officer (Struan Sloan), embodying toxic masculinity as he fearmongers with such glee in recounting violent acts. This is best captured with how Sloan rolls his R's when describing somebody being ripped limb from limb. Key to it all is Mitch Bain's score which delivers the intensity of Nick's situation, be it stemming from his nervousness at being himself or hearing the officer spread fear about the werewolf victims.

The animated style is a solid fit for the story, giving way to humorously exaggerated instances which work wonderfully. There are times when this can leave the naturalistic voice acting feeling out of place, although these pass with ease. Moments can also appear where the animated style needs some refining, particularly involving a late transition, yet that doesn't take away from how this effective short utilizes a well-worn trope for a relatable tale.

7ft, Hairy and Handsome made its UK Premiere at Frightfest 2022