“Vexed” (2016): A Quiet Night In Becomes a Terrifying Ordeal  

An evening that begins with watching a horror video at home turns into a terrifying, surreal night for a young couple in Glass Cabin Films’ short film Vexed. The effort also has some sly humor to it, making for a fun, appealing watch. Leah (Nosheen Phoenix) is a horror-film aficionado who can’t understand her boyfriend Nick’s (Baker Chase Powell) apathy toward fright fare. He dismisses horror movies as all being predictable retreads of the same […]

“When Susurrus Stirs” (2016): Top-Notch Gore Effects Take Center Stage in Disturbing Body Horror Short

How much viewers might enjoy the short film When Susurrus Stirs depends on their tolerance level for body horror. The film is filled with goopy, gloppy, gore effects but definitely has more going for it than just spectacular practical effects work. In director Anthony Cousins’ short, a nameless man (Nathan Tymoshuk) becomes the host to a parasitic creature with plans to take over much more real estate than just the man’s body. Trying not to […]

“Shallow Water” (2017): Exhilarating Performance and Cool Creatures Highlight Aquatic Monster Tale

Writer/director/producer Sandy Collora takes viewers on a 17-minute thrill ride with his creature-feature short Shallow Water. He has crafted a film so suspenseful that every hole in a door, light through a crack in a wall, and footstep in the forest makes you hold your breath in anticipation, and the creature design is quite impressive, as well. The approach is simple but effective, and a whole lot of fun. Sandy Collora is a creature designer […]

“Death Metal” (2016): Carnage and Comedy Riff Together Fiercely

Guitar riffage leads to blood spillage in writer/director Chris McInroy’s horror-comedy short Death Metal, which truly lives up to its title. This film boasts enough blood and gore in its five-minute running time to fill the average feature-length film but it offers more than that, as well. Lars (Kirk Johnson in a ridiculously funny wig) is a budding heavy metal guitarist who should have practiced a lot more than he did before trying to busk […]

“The Fisherman’s Wife” (2016): Creepy Fun Makes This Seaside Shocker a Delight

  All Becky (Cynthia Granville) wants to do is finalize divorce papers with her husband Frank (Stuart Rudin) in director Ben Leonberg’s short film The Fisherman’s Wife (2016), but things definitely won’t go as easily as she had hoped. As a matter of fact, she’ll be fighting for her life rather than alimony by the end of the evening. Ben Leonberg directs with confidence and skill with different tones as The Fisherman’s Wife goes from […]

“The Thin Place” (2016): A Mother and Daughter Are Haunted by a Terrifying Presence in This Supernatural Suspenser

In the tense, scary horror short The Thin Place, a mother is skeptical about her teenaged daughter’s story of being spirited away for two minutes every night until she witnesses the phenomenon for herself. Director Alexander Mattingly masterfully directs this film, steadily building the suspense and eeriness and delivering a finished product that had me on the edge of my seat throughout its approximately 15-minute running time. Maddy (Kelsey Blackwell) tells her mother Arlene (Lindsey […]

“Home Education” (2016): A Father’s Deteriorating Corpse Leads to Life Lessons for His Daughter

  London filmmaker Andrea Niada’s latest short Home Education (United Kingdom, 2016) is a brilliant, mesmerizing entry into my current favorite cinematic subgenre, “But is it horror?” films. It combines discomfiting images, a dark and dry wit, simmering tension, and stylish aesthetics, and the result is a 24-minute tragicomic excursion into a young woman’s increasingly bizarre sheltered existence. Rachel (Kate Reed) is homeschooled by her mother Carol (Jemma Churchill), who has some unorthodox ideas about […]

“The Madame in Black” (2017): Siblings Dabble with Sinister Urban Legend

The Madame in Black (AKA Svarta Madam), the latest short from Jarno Lee Vincensius (Darkness Falls, 2016), is another fine effort showing that the Swedish filmmaker is a talent to watch. In this short, he uses an urban legend as his basis for an eerie tale of adult siblings caught up in circumstances that they set off as children. When I say that the short is from Jarno Lee Vincensius, I mean that in the […]

“The Fee” ( “La Cuota,” 2015): Deadly Menace Rules Over Argentinian Apartment Building

A new tenant in apartment complex finds himself suddenly drawn into a nightmare world of conspiracy and paranoia in the horror–comedy short film The Fee (La Cuota). Director Juan Falco serves up an entertaining slice of foreign fear fare with this Argentinian effort. All Marcos (Juan Denari, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Juan Falco) wants to do is goof around on his computer a bit and get a little high, but his girlfriend has […]

“The Room at the Top of the Stairs” (2010): Loner Struggles for Identity with Someone No Longer There

Though the Australian slow-burn gothic thriller The Room at the Top of the Stairs is  a 2010 effort, the short film is making big waves at the moment with its recent addition to the Shudder online library. Briony Kidd, director of the Stranger with My Face International Film Festival (based in Hobart, Tasmania) helms this stylish, unnerving psychological drama. Fiannah de Rue stars as The Girl, an introverted young art student who is moving into […]

“After Hours” (2016): Whodunnit Horror Short Delves into Truly Unexpected Territory

  A puzzling murder at a store that has closed for the night leads a detective down a dark path in director Michael Aguiar’s After Hours. Fine performances from a cast led by the always reliable Bill Oberst Jr. highlight this  effective short film. Lauren Deakin (Dana Mauro) is in the shop where she works after closing, and she correctly surmises that she is not alone. As she makes for an elevator, she meets with […]

“Hidden Daylight” (2016): Desperation and Deception Make for a Deadly Combination

A man desperate to find his missing wife turns to a blind psychic in director Adrienne Lovette’s fascinating short chiller Hidden Daylight. The film examines guilt, deception, and more — let’s save some surprises for first-time viewers — in a wonderfully crafted piece. A businessman (David Rey) pays a blind psychic (John Rice, who also wrote the screenplay) to help him find answers about his wife (Ella Jane New). The psychic can allegedly see through […]

“The Maiden” (2016): Real Estate Agent Finds Haunted House Hard to Sell

  In the supernatural horror short The Maiden, real estate agent Lucy Wells (Alia Raelynn) is determined to sell an old house — and desperate enough to forge ahead even when a former resident makes it terrifyingly clear that she considers Lucy a trespasser. Writer/director Michael Chaves has forged a great-looking, suspenseful film that fans of haunted house cinema will relish. It’s no spoiler to say that The Maiden is a supernatural story because the […]

“Commune” (2016): Real-Life Abandoned House Makes for Disturbing Setting in Eerie Horror Short

British horror short Commune is filled with tension, unease, and dread, thanks in large part to the real dilapidated house used for its setting. Writer/director Thomas Perrett discovered the abandoned house at a Halloween party and was inspired to make this creepy short because of that. Tom (Tom Weller) takes on the task of watching over a run-down 1930s house in north London without pay, but having the chance to live there rent-free. The agent […]

“Radha” (2016): Poetic Horror Short Offers Otherworldly Uneasiness

  Irish supernatural short Radha is a meditative piece dealing with grief, the search for identity, and the power of transformation through art. Its horror is not graphic or intense; rather, it comes off as a quiet eeriness that pervades the film, offering a chance of hope along with its sense of dread. Saoirse (Sue Walsh) is a young woman trying to put some troubling incidents behind her as she moves to a new city, […]