“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, […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

“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, […]

“The Babysitter Murders” (2015): Classic Horror Movie Trope Gets a Wildly Entertaining Variation

  Writer/director Ryan Spindell has crafted a practically perfect short horror film with The Babysitter Murders. It leads viewers to think we are heading down a well-trodden path but instead leads us to unexpected and wickedly fun places, and looks and sounds great doing so. There’s a horror film within a horror film here, as a babysitter (Caitlin Custer) watches an old slasher film about a masked killer stalking, you guessed it, a babysitter. (Fans […]

“Creatures of Whitechapel” (2016): Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper Cross Paths in Twisted Gothic Horror Short

From its opening shots of stunning 3D matte paintings depicting a rooftop shot of 1888 London (created by Johnny Bones) to its end-credits stinger, director Jonathan Martin’s short film Creatures of Whitechapel is a breathtaking marvel. This U.K./U.S. coproduction combines legendary Victorian era characters, steampunk-style practical effects, and a loving nod to Hammer Film Productions’ creature features. Cowritten by Jonathan and Rebecca Martin, Creatures of Whitechapel tells the tale of Victor Frankenstein’s (Barrett Ogden) search […]

“Darla” (Shriekfest 2016): Homeless Man Meets Horror in an Alley in Effective Short Shocker

  Somewhere between classic Pandora’s Box-style cautions and good intentions paving their own roads to hell lies director/co-writer Eric Dresden Connelly’s Darla (2015). What begins as a human drama story with a heartwarming act of concern merges into science fiction and horror territory. A homeless man (Matt Fowler, also co-writer) is rummaging for food and other items in an alley when he suddenly hears the unmistakable sound of a baby crying. He determines that the […]

“Shutter” (Shriekfest 2016): Opportunity Knocks When a Murderer Strikes in German Thriller Short

Mark (Matthias Brueggenolte) is a young man who wishes to become a professional photographer, and pictures from the scene of a murder that he witnessed may be the key to landing just such a job in director/writer/producer Robert Mueller’s grue-filled short thriller Shutter (Germany, 2015). A secretary (Leni Speidel) assists Mark with his appointment to interview with an executive editor (Caroline Stahler) who initially seems to have little time or patience for him. He recounts […]