As a child, sickness always scared me. Not my own sickness, or the presence of sickness, but the debilitating quality of sickness that turned loved ones into something else, something alien, something foreign. Timothy Vandenberg’s ‘Agatha’ takes that sense of childhood naivete and fear and expands upon it, allowing it to materialize and sink its teeth into us. Set in the late 1800’s, ‘Agatha’ sees a young orphan who gets paid to leave food on the bedside table of an ailing woman. With each day the child’s fear grows, as she collects her wages, returning to wonder if Agatha’s disease might be more sinister than a plague of human origin.
Coming in at 8 minutes and change, ‘Agatha’ is a more than capable short film. Although short on dialogue, ‘Agatha’ manages to avoid the trapping of amateurish acting that often plagues shorts and gives us convincing performances, beautiful cinematography, and a heavy atmosphere that fills the watcher with a sickening feeling of dread and despair. ‘Agatha’ is short horror done right and done well. RECOMMENDED.