The Crusties, a horror short film written and directed by talented new filmmaker Tyler Stone, is heading to the Amsterdam International Filmmaker Festival this August, snagging nominations in four categories, including Best Short Film. The meticulously crafted and visually stunning film follows Kristina (Jocelyn McBride), a young bartender who gets mysteriously snatched from a NYC subway train by a mentally unstable older man that appears to be the leader of The Crusties. Kristina wakes up in a leaky dungeon zip-tied to a cell, uncertain of where she is now or how she got there. She’s not alone (anymore). She’s one of them. 

At first glance, The Crusties appears to be a run-of-the-mill horror film that utilizes mental health as a plot device to contextualize the villain’s motives. But beyond the surface, it is a wake up call to face something bigger and far more alarming that gets shamelessly ignored on a daily basis: the way our society shuns those who suffer from addiction and mental disorders. “Mental illness is very real in this world and is swept under the rug by the shitty, corrupt folks upstairs that control our healthcare system.” Stone tells Billboard. In major cities like New York, the problem gets exacerbated by the limited amount of resources available to those living in destitution, leaving thousands of vulnerable people roaming the streets in search of food, shelter, treatment, and basic human interaction.

The Crusties themselves aren’t the real monsters, the true horrors of the film are the conditions they are forced to live in, and the uncertainty of what will happen to them, Kristina included. Are The Crusties an embodiment of Kristina’s pain and suffering? Or are they simply human beings learning to cope with their afflictions while living as the dregs of society? While the film may not offer many answers, it is a brutally painful reminder that addictions and mental illnesses don’t just go away, they can affect anyone, and we must learn to live with them.

Check out the latest trailer below!

The Crusties made its international debut at the NICE International Film Festival of World Cinema earlier this May, where it received a total of 4 nominations, including a nod for its original score brilliantly composed by Tyler Stone. For more updates, visit and follow them on social media!

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