“REM” (2017): A Woman Tries to Help a Stranger with a Terrible Gift in New Zealand Shocker Short

Gail Morris (writer/director April Phillips) is a security guard who discovers the chilling, but potentially world-changing, secrets of a mute homeless man in the New Zealand horror/science-fiction thriller REM. This offering packs a lot of drama and emotional weight in its running time of approximately 14 minutes. On her rounds one night, Morris discovers a vagrant man (Chris Ryan) in an abandoned building. He is surrounded by newspaper clippings and wall scrawlings about disasters. Although […]

“Alfred J Hemlock” (2017): Diabolical Charmer Seeks to Lure in a Meek Victim in Exceptional Humorous Horror Short

Australian short chiller Alfred J Hemlock is a top-notch short film that balances eerie menace with whimsical charm and a dash of dark humor. The production values are marvelous and the acting is a delight in director Edward Lyons’ latest effort. Emily (Renaye Loryman) is unceremoniously dumped — pretty much literally and figuratively — by her boyfriend Guy (Christian Charisiou) in a dark alley after an argument about how she behaved in front of his […]

“Shades of Scarlet” (2017): Released Criminal and Brusque Nurse Match Wits and Wills in Dark Thriller Short

Director Wendy Keeling follows up last year’s horror comedy short The Unconventional Gourmet, reviewed here, with a dramatic thriller about a convicted rapist who is freed from prison on a technicality, and the nurse he meets in a bar on his first day of freedom. While Shades of Scarlet has a few darkly humorous moments, its main tone is deadly serious. Wynn Reichert (The Unconventional Gourmet, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Beast in the Cave) plays Bob Tribble, […]

“The Mothman of Point Pleasant” (2017): Captivating Documentary Captures Odd Paranormal History of West Virginia Town

The independent filmmakers behind the Small Town Monsters documentary series have released the fourth offering in their catalog, an intriguing look at the 1966–1967 sightings of what is now one of America’s most famous cryptozoological legends. The Mothman of Point Pleasant takes a well-researched, wonderfully presented look at the incidents that surrounded Point Pleasant, West Virginia and nearby environs during that time, from sightings of UFOs and mysterious beings to the tragic 1967 Silver Bridge […]

“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 […]