Short horror films featuring women: The fierce heroine in He Likes It Rough


He Likes it Rough gives us a fierce heroine to root for in one of the most cunning and gruesome short horror films I’ve seen in a long time.

I admit I haven’t spent as much time watching short horror films as I should but He Likes it Rough makes a compelling argument for why I should in the future. Of the vast array of short horror films available, I think the only other one that stands out to me as much as this one does is the Lights Out short film created by David Sandberg and Lotta Losten (that went on to get turned into a successful feature film starring Teresa Palmer in 2016).

While I enjoy almost all types of horror films, there has always been one sub-genre that I was never overly fond of. The genre being the odious rape-and-revenge film. Popularized by films like I Spit On Your Grave (1978) and The Last House on the Left (1972), I find these films are far more exploitative than they are scary.

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He Likes it Rough is a stand-out amongst other short horror films for the way it aims to redefine the story of traumatized women.

I don’t want to spoil the entire piece because I believe it is worth your time to watch (and it will only take you about 5 minutes to do so) but the essence of the film is about a woman who has come back from a horrific night out with a man.

We don’t see the assault take place (a welcome change of pace) but the implication is strong enough of its own volition for the audience to understand what happened. I admire filmmakers who know their audiences are not stupid and can pick up on subtleties just fine. Sometimes less really is more.

Photo Courtesy of Retro Grave Productions

From the teaser and the title, you may be able to piece together the basic plot skeleton but I can guarantee you haven’t seen a tale of revenge told exactly like this one. Its sheer brutality is complemented by the brief running time.

If you’re like me, and haven’t taken much time to watch many short horror films, or even if you’re a connoisseur of short horror films, I highly recommend checking this one out when you get the chance. Especially if you’re someone who likes to see women in horror that don’t adhere to the typical genre tropes our gender is often assigned.

Pictured: Steve Kasan – Photo Courtesy of Retro Grave Productions

I’d also like to praise the cinematographer, Angel Navarro III. He is an accomplished Director of Photography from Canada and he creates some breathtaking shots in this film (like the one pictured above). Immersing myself in this brief but wondrously bloody short was incredibly easy with the striking, and often times, downright devilish, ambience and world created through deft camerawork. Navarro’s ability to curtail even the slightest flicker of a candle’s flame into wicked shadow casts is a skill to be admired.

Not only is He Likes it Rough about a woman but behind the scenes it is also lead by females. Kat Threlkeld, who plays the woman in the short, proves herself a triple threat. In addition to starring, she co-directed and co-produced the short film along with Lance Fernandes. Shari Archinoff was a co-writer with Threlkeld for the script as well.

If you’ve gotten the chance to watch Uncork’d Entertainment’s film, Lifechanger, on VOD then you may also recognize the male actor of the film – it’s none other than Steve Kasan who played the role of Detective Freddie Ransone in the body horror movie!

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He Likes it Rough is one of two short horror films produced by Retro Grave Productions (the other short film is called Seiren and it also features Kat Threlkeld as actress, writer, and director).

Keep an eye out for He Likes it Rough and for Retro Grave Productions website which I’m told is currently under construction!

Do short films interest you? What other short horror films have you seen and enjoyed? Will you be watching He Likes it Rough? Let us know what you think in the comments!