SXSW 2022: BLINK Captures the Horror

Reading Time: 2 minutes

BLINK - But Why Tho

Sleep paralysis is a terrifying reality that serves as the perfect foundation for great horror. I mean, laying prone with no way to speak or move, beholden to the spectre that looms over you. From the Scream Gems’ Horror Lab, BLINK takes this concept and twists it. Directed by , written by Cohen and Anna Halberg, and stars Sophie Thatcher, Alicia Coppola, and Scot Nery.

In BLINK, Mary wakes up in the hospital after being violently pushed from a window. Almost completely paralyzed, Mary has to answer the nurse’s questions by blinking. Unable to add context and confined to answer yes or no, the film becomes claustrophobic; only the place we’re stuck is Mary’s body. As Mary answers the questions, she tries to warn the nurse that a sinister, inhuman force is trying to kill her and has made its way to the hospital. But when strange things begin happening around her, she realizes it may be too late.

When you hear stories of sleep paralysis demons, it comes with the inherent safety net that they’re not real. You may be stuck in your body, unable to move and at their will, but they are not real. Once your brain makes it out, you can go about your sleep. When BLINK began, that was the safety net I saw there. Living with someone who has sleep paralysis is terrifying when you hear them trying to wake up. In my husband’s case, it’s shocking to listen to a scream struggle to be pushed out. But having to deal with those moments about once every couple of months, I felt a sense of security watching BLINK until I didn’t.

BLINK’s sound design expertly immerses you in the film, and Thatcher’s ability to display fear as the nurse asks her questions is the short’s highlight. She displays abject terror that grows as the entity begins to make itself known.

To be honest, BLINK is a stellar short film that I want so much more of. I want to see how Mary experienced the entity at her home. I want to see the fall from the window. I want to see the fallout, and I want to know the lore behind the evil. I just want more of BLINK. 

BLINK premiered at the SXSW 2022 Film Festival.