30th May2019

‘The Affliction Table’ Short Film Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: M W Daniels, Sean Francis Mclaughlin, Kimberley Thornhill | Written and Directed by M W Daniels


I had a chance to watch M W Daniels’ short film House of Lexi and review it for Nerdly recently, and I really enjoyed the film, found a lot of elements to like about it, so I was very much up for a chance to see M W Daniels’ The Affliction Table, another horror short from the man who brought us House of Lexi.

Daniels writes and directs once again here, and he also appears in the film itself as the character William Hayden. This short horror film follows Hayden, an artist who invokes a woman named Holly Low into his dark room. The following minutes we join William and Holly on a trip among extreme fetishism. It’s dark, it’s bizarre and it is striking in the way it tells its artistic and inventive story. The scenes between Holly Low and William are often creepy, sometimes violent and sometimes quiet. I don’t want to go into any twists that the film takes, or how it adapts its steps as you go, because you should experience that for yourself.

There’s a visual style to this film that immediately captured my attention. Something about short film as a medium to tell a story is the need to grasp the viewer in some manner right away. You don’t have the time to waste or spare in this form, and Daniels, like in House of Lexi, doesn’t waste his time in gripping you with his visuals and the soundscape he builds alongside those visuals. It’s really something.

Daniels, as writer and director, is very creative, and it is also worth mentioning how much he brings to his role on screen too. He is, without need of dialogue, able to convey emotion, pain and a range of expressions through his experiences, and I enjoyed seeing his performance unfold in under 15 minutes of the film’s run-time. Kimberley Thornhill, as Holly, does a great job for what her role calls for, and aside from Sean Francis Mclaughlin as Holly’s slave, there’s no-one else here. The Affliction Table is a minimalist film with no need for giant locales or a depth of characters. The story is told with the aforementioned cast and a knowledge of the narrative being unfurled.

I am a fan of short film, and I love when I can discover a story in a short amount of time that makes me wonder what might happen along the edges of the plot, what would happen with more time being added, and how nice it is to not have that comfort, but rather being left to think and wonder and ponder at my own discretion. The Affliction Table uses sound and visual language to reveal itself, not unlike House of Lexi did, and I found a lot to enjoy. It’s creative and artistic, and we can’t complain or harshly judge those things, because they’re so necessary. Very interesting.


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