Depression is a Beast Image

Depression is a Beast

By Alan Ng | May 20, 2024

Terrifier horror star Jenna Kanell walks us through her relationship with horror and depression in Courtney Dixon’s short film, Depression is a Beast. When left alone, depression can be debilitating in our lives. As a teenager, Kanell struggled with Major Depressive Disorder. One of the ways she managed to get through these difficult times was by watching horror films. She describes horror films as an emotional roller coaster. By heightening the emotions she felt while watching these films, she found herself able to relate to these extreme emotions.

Throughout Depression is a Beast, Kanell speaks through talking head testimonials and voice-over narration, taking us through her journey with depression. She likens it to a horror film, for her depression is always looming in the shadows, and like a horror film, she describes her life as sitting in an empty room that’s slowly filling up with water as she struggles to tread water and survive.

“…while watching [horror] films, she found herself able to relate to these extreme emotions.”

Powerfully illustrating her message, director Dixon uses clips from horror films along with Jenna’s appearances throughout her young yet prolific career. Now add comic book animation and quick-cut editing, and we get a small taste of Jenna’s everyday life. Dixon brilliantly masters the tone of her short film, giving us a glimpse of Jenna’s chaotic life without becoming too overwhelming visually.

Depression is a Beast will resonate with many in this deeply reflective short film about Jenna Kanell’s lifelong struggle with depression. Kanell approaches it from the unique perspective of her love for horror films.

Depression is a Beast (2024)

Directed: Courtney Dixon

Written: Jenna Kanell

Starring: Jenna Kanell, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Depression is a Beast Image

"…her depression is always looming in the shadows..."

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