The Fourth Wall is a twisted theatrical showcase of director Kelsey Bollig’s talents

The Fourth Wall - Courtesy of Jessica Forde
The Fourth Wall - Courtesy of Jessica Forde /

An exclusive film festival focusing on spotlighting short films by women directors, the Etheria Film Festival is a showstopping tradition generally held at the Egyptian Theatre. However, due to the COVID restrictions, the festival has instead moved to a month-long showing on Shudder and we had the chance to screen one of the excellent films, The Fourth Wall.

The Fourth Wall has already taken home more than 25 nominations and 18 wins, including Best Horror Film at Holly Shorts International Film Festival and Best Director (Kelsey Bollig) at Nola Horror Film Festival. After watching the short, I can see why it has generated so much acclaim.

You can currently stream The Fourth Wall and the other short films in the Etheria Film Festival lineup on Shudder until July 25.

The Fourth Wall was filmed on location in Paris and stars Lizzie Brocheré, who you might recognize from American Horror Story: Asylum, Roby Schinasi, and Jean-Marc Barr. It tells the story of perfectionist and struggling actress Chloé (Brocheré), who, in addition to fighting a maddening cocaine addiction, is dealing with a handful of inept actors who threaten to ruin her chance in the spotlight.

The Fourth Wall
The Fourth Wall – Courtesy of Jessica Forde /

The Fourth Wall is twisted, bloody & theatrical

Chloé wants nothing more than her chance to shine in a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but her co-stars seem hellbent on ruining the occasion. At least one actress is only there because of nepotism, her male co-star is a total lech, and the other actress is an American who couldn’t be bothered to learn her lines in French.

Accurately titled “the fourth wall,” the short begins with fourth-wall-breaking as we hear a narrator’s voice adjust the title credits. From there the film progresses with several long, continuous takes, which always adds theatricality to film as each actor is forced to perform as if on stage without losing their momentum as the camera follows them without any cuts.

Presented in all of its neon glory, The Fourth Wall sprints toward a spectacularly bloody, cathartic ending for Chloé, one which earns her a standing ovation. It’s a lovely tongue-in-cheek ending that feels just right for the tone and its darkly comedic undertone.

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Watch The Fourth Wall and other Etheria Film Festival shorts right now on Shudder.