Believe it or not, humans were meant to be social beings. Sometimes we become so firmly ensconced in our families, we’re left devastated and alone when the family breaks up. So is the tale of Shiang-An Chuang’s short film Mama Pingpong Social Club.
A-Mein (Chuan Wang) is a little lost after her husband of many years left her for another woman. A bit frustrated with A-Mein’s bitter attitude, her daughter plans of moving out. The news of her plans doesn’t sit well with A-Mein.
“The two begin playing ping pong, and A-Mein learns more about the club and starts to become a little suspicious…”
For the sake of sanity, A-Mein joins a ping pong club for moms. It’s a popular club, and the club’s owner takes an immediate liking to our heroine. The two begin playing ping pong, and A-Mein learns more about the club and starts to become a little suspicious. At one point, A-Mein misses the ball and cuts herself, reaching for the ball behind a cabinet. The exposed wound causes the club members to reveal their fangs and A-Mein passes out. HINT: They’re all vampires.
When A-Mein wakes, she has been turned into a member of the undead like everyone else. On the upside, A-Mein will live forever and has found a group of literal BFF’s (emphasis on Forever). On the downside…well, this is not good for her.
Mama Pingpong Social Club is a light horror/thriller leaning on the dramatic versus the comedic tone and tells a good, solid 26-minute story. What I like is the way it juggles elements of horror, family, and particularly friendship. This indecision makes it hard to peg exactly what kind of story it’s trying to tell, but who says a short film can’t have everything. Horror with heart…how’s that.
Mama Pingpong Social Club (2018) Written and directed by Shiang-An Chuang. Starring Chuan Wang, Ying Xuan Hsieh, Yu Chen. Mama Pingpong Social Club screened at the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the 2019 Palm Springs ShortFest.
8 out of 10 stars