Remember Momo? The internet hoax that had parents around the world wailing about a non-existent social media challenge? While having been around since mid-2018, the Momo Challenge grew in awareness at start of 2019. Suddenly Facebook was filled with parents claiming that the character of ‘Momo’ was turning up in the middle of YouTube videos aimed at children (such as Peppa Pig) and encouraging them to do violent acts.
It’s one of those modern hoaxes that make you feel a little bit embarrassed as cursory investigation would have shown that it was fake. Instead thanks to the likes of Kim Kardashian, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and many, many ‘news’ sites, people bought the Momo challenge as a real thing.
Fast forward to now and it has all but disappeared and most know it to be fake. The kids are alright…relax.
Out of the madness though there are always positives particularly for horror fans. The idea of ‘Momo’ is creepy and the visual image…disturbing. Although that in itself came from a photograph of a sculpture of an ubume (a yōkai or ghost), produced by Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa at special effects firm Link Factory.
Momo could be inspiration for actual horror which is what we have here with director Alexander Henderson’s short effort.
Shot with the care and quality of a high-budget full movie, Momo is a creepy affair with some effective jump scares. One that can proudly say got me, a person who rarely jumps at jump scares!
It opens with a woman spaced out in her apartment walking from room to room until she sees herself in a mirror. The short then cuts to ‘3 hours earlier’ with an odd voiceover. We see the woman with her partner in bed.
He has fallen asleep so she goes to the bathroom where she sees the figure of a woman standing in the bath behind the shower curtain. When she pulls it back the figure is gone but when she closes it, the figure is back. She does this several times over before dismissing it and going back to the bedroom.
As she goes to close the door, she hears creepy singing coming from the living room. Investigating she is shocked to see a woman standing in the centre of the room. Frightened she runs to her partner waking him up. On his phone he shows her the security camera feed for the rooms and no-one this there. However, she is insistent so he goes to check while she watches on his phone.
We all know what kind of scare is coming here but thanks to the excellent edit job, it still hits. He is attacked by the mysterious woman and killed. It’s here we finally see her face and it is Momo. At first it looks a bit silly but with her playful voice and creepy movements she is an effective scary villain.
The woman tries to keep Momo out but she has ways of getting in. Easily my favourite sequence in the short.
How does it end? Watch yourself below but be prepared to be scared!
The Final Score - 9/10