There are a lot of really, really weird board games out there. We tend to forget about some of the uncomfortable nature of the previous generation’s entertainment, but even some of the stuff I grew up with is kind of gross if you stop and think about it. I mean, anyone remember “Don’t Wake Daddy?” That’s precisely the sort of thing that “Your Date is Here” capitalizes on. It’s short and sweet, but it needs to be. It’s a very simple, effective and genuinely, genuinely creepy little short. It excels at everything that makes the current climate of horror shorts unbelievably great.
A woman and her daughter sit down to play a board game that the little girl picks out at random. Called “Your Date is Here,” it basically is just that, learning all the details about the date before he arrives and talking to him on a fake plastic telephone. That’s the first scare that becomes very obvious. We see that phone and we know that something will genuinely, somehow be on the other end. But that doesn’t mater. A five minute short is like telling a good urban legend, it’s not about creating something entirely new, it’s about telling the scariest possible story in the shortest amount of time.
“Your Date is Here” gives us just enough information about this mom and her kid. We don’t need to know where the father is or what happened to him. We know that there’s a woman and her child, by themselves, playing a game that gets progressively creepier and creepier.
While there are occasional bits of humor, this short really goes for the throat. It wants to scare you and while it might not work on the same level for everyone, it genuinely got to me. Especially as it starts wrapping up. There’s a moment where I actually jumped, which I haven’t done watching a short film since I first saw “Lights Out.”
When you start answering those questions, it drives the concept into the ground and could turn into something like The Mangler. But when they remain unanswered, they only serve the concept. And it’s a concept that easily could have been mishandled. Like most strong horror, the premise—essentially, “scary board game”—is absurd. But execution is everything, and it’s something that “Your Date is Here” nails.
WICKED RATING: 8/10