I was recently granted the honor of screening the first episode of “Two Sentence Horror Stories,” an anthology series created and directed by Vera Miao. “Two Sentence Horror Stories” is presented by Stage13 and will be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 29, 2017. If you are in New York and are able to attend, you have to see it. It’s straight up genius.
Aptly titled “MA,” this episode is about Mona, a young Chinese woman living with her mother. She is feeling the strain of her overbearing parent when a chance encounter with a new neighbor promises a bit of relief. Just as Mona and Erica begin to hit it off, tensions rise between her and her mom. Their struggle reveals a host of scars still plaguing Mona into adulthood. When Erica finally realizes what’s really going on, it’s too late for both of them.
“MA” isn’t your conventional horror story. It’s freakishly familiar. The way in which Mona’s mother affects her psyche is bone chilling. Mona drew me in from the start. I understood her. As a parent of an LGBTQ child, I sympathized with her. I got that their mother-daughter bond felt more like bondage, but good God … I wasn’t ready.
While watching, I became flooded with memories of myself as a daughter and mother. Fear for Mona slowly crept through me. Calamity felt inevitable, but I still never expected things to end the way they did. I was so completely shook that I sat with my mouth agape, heart thumping, in awe. As I sat stunned, I remembered all of the little clues that led up to that moment. Watching Mona’s life made me realize that the true horror was the fact that I could have been her. That is scary as hell.
Major kudos to Stage13 for giving Miao the platform to present this extraordinary work. Everything from the cinematography to the set was impressive. However, those things are nothing without the cast. Casting Wei-Yi Lin (Mona), Ayesha Harris (Erica) and Mardy Ma (Ma) was exceptionally appealing because they are a true representation of the world around me. Wei-Yi Lin exuded a thinly veiled sadness, which perfectly set the tone. Coupling her with Ayesha Harris sparked instant chemistry. Mardy Ma was the right element to burst it all into flames. These three together proved to be a fantastic combination for this story. I hope I get to see them more in the future. As for “Two Sentence Horror Stories,” I am now happily addicted and can’t wait for the next episode.
Be sure to support Vera Miao and the cast as they take on our deepest fears.