ABOUT

An Aboriginal psychological horror, THE MOOGAI is the story of

a family terrorised by a child-stealing spirit

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SCREENINGS & AWARDS

Melbourne International Film Festival 2020, World Premiere

Erwin Rado Award, Best Australian Short Film

2020 AACTA Awards, Nominated - Best Short Film

Flickerfest International Film Festival 2021

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Country of Production: Australia

Completion Date: April 1, 2020

Finished Format: DCP

Colour Ratio: 2.39:1
Sound: 5.1 and 2.0
Language: English

Running Time: 15 mins

DIRECTORS STATEMENT

I believe that horror stories come down to one simple line “Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly.” They are all about that dynamic. Spider, fly. Predator, prey. The most thrilling parts of a horror movie, to me, are usually when the fly gets caught in the spider’s web. We share the terrifying experience of watching the fly struggle, knowing the spider is out there somewhere but not seeing it. This is the core relationship in this story. The Moogai is the spider and Jacob is the fly. Sarah is the only thing that stands between them.

The other aspect of the horror genre that I particularly wanted to explore in this film is the absence of hope due to the absence of knowledge. It is not just about fear of the unknown, but about absence of knowledge (and more importantly, the inability to gain it). Because the absence of knowledge is the absence of power. This lack of knowledge is scarier than the bliss of ignorance, because you are acutely aware that you are missing something. It’s this absence that compels characters in horror films to “go into the basement” - they just have to know what’s down there, they have to gain knowledge in order to gain power. But the destructive force can never truly be known. To me, this absence of knowledge becomes an absence of hope. What makes us uncomfortable is that we struggle to gain knowledge and hope in our everyday life, but horror tells us that we have to live without them. The Moogai is trying to push Sarah to a hopeless place, so it can gain power over her.

The stolen generation is such a massive wound in the psyche of Australia, but it is often thought of as something in the past. And it’s often presented as something in the past. This story takes the inheritance of that trauma into the present, with a couple’s new baby. Someone or something is trying to take that new born baby, to destroy the sacred human bond of mother and child. We’ve really tried to delve into the horrors of breaking that sacred human bond and explore the effects of transgenerational trauma that still echo through to our lives today. To find a cinematic way to show the terror of having something hunt you down so it can take your child, and your future.

- Jon Bell, Writer/Director