“Pillow Fright” (2015): Coeds Battle Cushions in Patrick Rea’s Fun New Horror Short

Auteur Patrick Rea has delivered  short-horror-film gold once again with Pillow Fright. With its combination of absurd premise, sharp humor, and startling kills, this 5-minute mini-marvel is well worth watching.

Four college girls (Jessi Burkette, Jennifer Seward-De Rock, Jessica Logsdon, and Kristin Rea) spend an evening playing with a Ouija board, trying a levitation experiment, and doing tequila shots before deciding to have a pillow fight. One of the pillows is in particularly bad shape afterward, torn open with its stuffing strewn on the floor. After the girls doze off, the surviving pillows band together to exact revenge.

It’s all supernatural experimentation fun and games for four sorority sisters  until the stuffing starts flying in Pillow Fright.

Yes, you read that correctly. The pillows aim to avenge their fallen comrade. If you think that premise sounds stupid and like a potential waste of time, you have likely never caught any of the talented and prolific writer/director Patrick Rea’s previous horror-comedy shorts, such as the fun-filled Howl of a Good Time (reviewed here). Rea cleverly delivers on his amusing premise and he knows how to deliver some inventive kills that elicit “ugh”s between the laughs.

Jessi Burkette gets the most screen time among the four leads, and she gives an enjoyable performance as the first of the girls to discover the polyester-filled terror that comes to call. The rest of the leads give entertaining turns, as well, as they are attacked and sometimes try to fight back  – in an original twist on the “Chekhov’s gun” trope, if you’re going to show a tequila-filled toy water pistol, you’d better use it.


Patrick Rea gives life to the pillows in such a way that two or more merely sitting upright on the floor come across as menacing, and when they attack, they are animated in crafty ways using practical effects.

Patrick Rea’s shorts are shot, edited, scored, and designed in a consistently reliable manner, and have a unique if not easily definable feeling, and Pillow Fright is no exception. If you haven’t yet been introduced to his oeuvre, this short is an engaging place to start. It’s available to watch on YouTube here.

Pillow Fright: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.