Reviewed by Jesse Miller,
BEAUTY JUICE, written and directed by Natasha Halevi and featuring an all-female cast including Jennifer Holland (BrightBurn), Krista Allen (Feast), Tiffany Shepis (Tales of Halloween) and Lola Blanc (American Horror Story), is a satirical stab at the beauty industry laced with an underlying sense of dread and horror. It follows Sarah (Jennifer Holland) as she anxiously attends her first appointment with the titular company Beauty Juice - and we’re right there with her as she fidgets on spot waiting for her time to come. I must say that BEAUTY JUICE really hits the spot when it comes to the craft - there’s zero filler, the writing by Natasha Halevi is tight and sharp, not a shot is wasted, the editing is perfect and everything is perfectly wound right to deliver this growing sense of unease. Something’s not quite right, I realized, as Sarah sits amongst the apathetic ladies of the reception room. There’s something snarky and vaguely Cronenberg-esque behind what I’m seeing and it’s all threatening to bubble to the surface any minute and I don’t know when that’ll be. The cast are all pitch perfect as well, from Jennifer Holland’s bubbly Sarah eager to be a part of something bigger than herself to the grungy group of ladies that await her on her journey onwards. Without ruining anything, it all comes to fruition in a bit of a shocking climax, not only catching me off guard but also giving me something to wash down and digest what I’ve just seen long after the credits roll. There’s a startling determination in Sarah’s eyes - a terrible eagerness that feels wrong. That lingered with me. What lengths do we do go to for beauty? What does the industry find and exploit in people? Beauty Juice left me asking such questions while also leaving the horror fan in me amused and satiated. In a way, I wanted it to go further - to expand upon the body horror that it teases ever so cheekily - but I realize I’m nitpicking on this front. As it is, Beauty Juice is an effective and startling short, one that calls to mind other topical indies horrors like Starry Eyes and Entrance.
Photos below by Albert Ortega