Inspired by the concept of foxes being smart, cunning, and having a reputation for being portrayed as tricksters in various folklore and literature, Foxed! took this concept and created an adrenaline-charged story that shows how foxes use their cunning behavior to benefit their needs.
Foxed!, which was directed and produced by James Stewart and written by Nev Bezaire, tells the story of a young girl named Emily who was kidnapped by foxes and forced to work in a mine. One day while digging, she sees an opportunity to escape and takes it. But instead of gaining her freedom, Emily is reintroduced to the foxes’ slyness which proves to be even scarier than she remembered.
This stop-motion animation begins with the continuous sound of water dripping down from the ceiling of the mine. Then, we see Emily in old, torn clothes digging into the ground with a pick axe. With every strike she takes, Emily struggles to continue with her job. As she’s working, two foxes enter the scene to check on her and haunting music plays in the background. Suddenly the music gets louder, the title of the film appears on the screen, and the music abruptly transitions to the sound of Emily’s beating heart.
The music combined with the eerie sounds from the mine and the fear in Emily’s eyes flawlessly sets the mood for this horror short film. The sounds from the mine immediately let the audience know this film is going to make them feel a rush of emotions. Then when the unnerving music begins to play, the audience realizes Emily’s wish to gain her freedom may never happen. When the music stops, all you hear is the sound of Emily breathing heavily. Watching her as she tries to catch her breath, after running away from the foxes, is enough to send shivers down your spine.
With the foxes only speaking a few lines, their raspy, intimidating voices make it clear that their intentions for Emily are evil. They refuse to lose her and will do anything to get her back. From the few lines they speak, the audience understands why she was so determined to run away. Emily’s fear of being caught and her longing to be reunited with her family makes you wish you could help her find her way home. Emily is the type of character you see often in horror films but her innocence and sweet personality makes it disheartening to watch her in this situation.
The overall setting of this film also adds to the somber story. The only bright colors that are shown are the lights illuminating the mine, Emily’s green eyes and the scene when she thinks she’s finally free. Minus these few examples of color, everything surrounding Emily is gloomy and drab just like her fate in this film.
From the very beginning, Foxed! will have you trying to figure out what happens next. This film, which won numerous awards including Best Animation at the Toronto Urban Film Festival and the Garden State Film Festival in 2014, will take you a terrifying journey and remind you why foxes are considered cunning creatures.