A woman arrives at her mother's house and finds a strange book inside, causing her to read stories from its pages.
The Good Stor(ies): Birthday Girl-Meeting a strange girl in an elevator, a woman begins talking with her inside but the incessant questions the girl keeps asking to begin to fracture her already fragile mind. There was a lot to like with this one. The minimalist set-up and eerie look of the setting inside give off an eerie tone, much like the resulting implications from the girls' incessant questions which is where this one starts to get creepier. While the final reveal tends to downplay the horror aspect without much going for it, the entire feature being used as a metaphor for grief makes this ghostly tale quite interesting.
The Man Who Caught a Mermaid-Heading off on a fishing trip, an elderly man stumbles across a live mermaid and takes it home, resulting in far more trouble than he imagined. This is quite an intriguing offering. Continuing to expand upon Australia's cultural fascination about mermaids, the scenes of him out on the docks with his rod-and-reel or in the shed with the captive creature and his attempts to keep it sedated enough not to alarm others of its presence, speak nicely to their beliefs regarding their existence and how the creatures' existence is just a fact of life more than the general shock about the legends being true. With some nice touches of comedy sprinkled in here, some nice make-up effects on the creature and a solid twist, this one proves rather enjoyable overall.
Storytime-Journeying deep into the Mangroves of a local swamp, two kids looking to prove the local legend of a wicked woman in the Mangrove swamp find the legend all too real. This was a solid and enjoyable segment. The folklore behind the segment, with the kids talking about the various incarnations of the tale about the woman and the local flavor it showcases, give this a great setup alongside the outright eeriness of the swamp they decide to explore. These give this plenty to enjoy before getting to the terror of the final bits involving the realization of what's going on which makes this a wholly intriguing effort that could be expanded further quite easily.
White Song-After losing her husband in a car accident, a lonely and heartbroken widow is visited by a vengeful ghost who are each unaware of the others' true intentions. For the most part, there's a lot to like here. The shorthand montage of their relationship that signals the heartbreak and grief to come starts this well enough, much like the resulting scenes explaining the power and origins of the ghost through the interaction with her husband and child that caused her to become a ghost. The problem is that there are so much backstory and history to get out as for what's going on that it glosses over everything in huge swathes of voice-over narration to get the same point a feature-length adaptation could've told without that, giving it points for the attempt but is strangely in the wrong format as an anthology short.
Grillz-Going on a new date, a vampire using social media to hunt for prey stumbles upon a date that she can't get rid of. This one has some pretty enjoyable aspects. The opening scenes of the various hunting montages brings about some solid hunting scenes involving the girl out on the apps and killing off her prey while the time spent with the new boyfriend comes off as a nice change of pace. It's a bit short and ends abruptly but beyond that is quite fun.
Little Sharehouse of Horrors-Buying a new houseplant for her loft, a woman brings it back to her disapproving roommates only to suddenly find themselves in a frantic fight for their lives. This was a rather strong and stylish effort. The focus early on with the roommate problems and their lifestyle together sets up the latter half when it turns into a bonkers genre effort about the out-of-control plants taking over the house. Attempting to turn this into a high-energy action scene when the result is a glorified pruning session is hilarious and the outcome is a delirious slice of black comedy that makes for a fun effort.
The Intruder-Staying home alone during a thunderstorm, a teen comes to believe a stranger trying to break in only to learn someone more dangerous might want to invade her life. This one has plenty to enjoy about it. The effectively dark and Gothic-styled house, with the lightning flashes illuminating the darkness at intermittent intervals, creates a great atmosphere while the short-hand notices that something has happened in the past, let the chills build with the potential for more to come. The Gothic atmosphere extends to the second half, featuring the majority of the scenes coming by candlelight illumination that provides this one with a stellar and shocking final twist.
The Bad Stor(ies): Gloomy Valentine-After a break-up with the man of her dreams, a woman begins to lament her loss as she tries to heal her broken heart. This was a pretty weird segment. The concept of doing this as a stop-motion animation segment tends to take priority over this one for the most part, as the creative and creepy visuals are solely due to the bizarre look of everything, including the titular dolls which is exemplified by the creepy finale. Beyond those impressive creative forces at play, there's not much to this one.
Watch Me-Obsessed with her image, an aging actress will do anything to ensure that people never take their eyes off of her. There wasn't much to this one. The idea of what she's going on performing for people, wearing outlandish clothing at low-key places, taking the phone into the bathroom to record herself urinating or focusing on bizarre rituals for sleeping or other weird behaviors which are solely to do something we're not told of the importance towards her desires and behavior. By the time it finally makes sense it's too little too late.
The Ride-Heading back into town, a teen picks up a ride to his university from an enigmatic stranger that changes his life for the worse. This was a pretty underwhelming effort. The idea behind the two getting caught up in their predicament could've been far more tense and serious than the two-line exchange we get here that constitutes the entirety of the drama in this one which is where this falls flat. Toying with the idea of who the driver is doesn't generate any suspense at all, and the entire wrong-headed way this is handled lacks the chills or suspense similar setups have done in the past, rendering this a watchable if puzzling inclusion.
Rated Unrated/R: Violence and Language.