"There was a time when it was always summer, and life for the animals was peaceful and worry free. Then, one day, winter came to the forest for the very first time…" Baobab Studios has released a trailer for an indie animated short film titled Crow: The Legend, being distributed on VR platforms and also on YouTube this month. Inspired by the original Native American tale of the Crow, the short film features a bright and colorful crow who must make a sacrifice when winter arrives to save his friends. John Legend voices Crow, and the cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Constance Wu, Tye Sheridan, Diego Luna, and Liza Koshy. Executive produced by Baobab Studios, Get Lifted, and Native Americans in Philanthropy. This is one of a few high profile VR shorts, interesting to see this story being told in this way. Worth a look.
"Don't listen to him." Yet another horror short to keep you up at night, afraid to go to sleep or look out the window. Dead House is a horror short written and directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Travis Laidlaw. The short is about two men renovating a mysterious old house who try to leave before the building enters lock down, but the house has different plans for them. This was filmed in three days at an existing old house that they found. It's actually the same house that was used to film Andy Muschietti's It movie, and they were able to go and shoot there just before the It crew took over. Dead House stars Virgil Howarth and Redd Ochoa. There's an impressively creepy atmosphere to this, with all kinds of devious tricks & treats waiting within. Dim the lights, put headphones on & crank the volume for an optimal viewing experience. Have fun.
"Check surroundings for safety." One more horror short to keep you all freaked out every night. Reverse is another horror short film by Australian filmmaker Josh Tanner, and writer/producer Jade van der Lei. The two also just made and released the horror short The Rizzle earlier this October, which was part of Hulu's Huluween Film Fest competition. This short has an entirely different concept, about a guy trying to leave an underground car park, but something doesn't want him to leave there. Starring Joel Stanton and Connor Clarke. They wanted to try and make a film utilizing the ever-evolving technology in cars to create tension and scares. Featuring cinematography by Kieran Fowler, with music composed by Stevan Markovic. Enjoy.
"It's our ability to conflate the physical and the virtual world that makes this whole apparatus work in the first place." Another scary horror short to watch to keep the thrills going beyond just the month of October. Monitor is a horror short film made by Matt Black & Ryan Polly, of a Texas-based filmmaking cooperative called Maker Table. Similar to, but different, than the other horror short Monitor (about a baby monitor), this one is about a sleep-deprived corner store clerk who wonders if he's seeing things when a man appears on his security camera monitors. Starring Gunner Willis, Jacob Daniels, and Tyler Burditt. This really is a much scarier version of the monitor concept, with the mysteriousness playing perfectly with the horror.
"This has to be it, right?" "Yes, definitely." Another new horror short to serve up even though we're already through October. The Fitting is a short film directed by Wilfredo "Wil" Manzano, made by the production company The Nocturnal. It's about two actors who are heading to a wardrobe fitting for an indie film, only to discover it's actually not a film they're being fitted for. The Fitting stars Tayler Hamilton and Sterling Williams. This is a fairly simple short film, but gets very freaky very fast near the end and just keeps going. I feel like there's more missing, though. Did she get out? Do they find her? Who knows! We'll never know…
Even though it isn't October anymore, it doesn't mean we can't still feature new horror short films. Take this one, for example, another creepy new horror suspense short that will leave you feeling a bit unsettled. The Collection is a horror short made by three filmmakers and friends: Carlos Baena, Carlos Puertolas, and Rani Naamani. All of them have worked in the VFX or animation industries in San Francisco, and also love to make films on the side. The Collection stars Bob Roden and Carla Westlund. It's a deceptive film with a sucker punch ending, which is what makes it so unsettling. Warning: this contains some graphic violence.
"You'll be safe - just stay inside the circle." We've saved the best for last…! After posting a bunch of horror shorts throughout October, one of the best shorts has debuted online just in time for Halloween. Salt is the latest horror short made by filmmaker Rob Savage, with his writing partner Jed Shepherd. The two last made the highly successful Dawn of the Deaf, a zombie movie told entirely in sign language. Salt is a two-minute horror short about a mother protecting her sick daughter - using a ring of salt. Starring Alice Lowe, Beau Gadson, and James Swanton. It's incredible how much they pull off in two minutes, with all of the elements (concept, production design, cinematography) working in harmony to make this instantly iconic.
Sleep tight tonight. Just in time for Halloween, filmmaker Geof Wolfenden has unveiled his new horror short film Monitor. The idea came about from a moment where he was watching the baby monitor with his wife, suddenly wondering what would happen if something was on the monitor. This isn't a new concept, but it's the execution and tension here that makes this short a thrilling watch. And it's an entirely dialogue-less short film, only 3 minutes long, but still incredibly creepy. Monitor stars Nicole Evans as the mother, with a score by Wesley Roskell. I really like the way it plays out at the end, and how the cinematography works so well in establish much of the scary feeling. If you need a good jolt, this short will definitely give you one.
"Actually, supernatural abilities are very real." Sometimes it's hard to keep an optimistic outlook when the world is falling apart. Even superheroes lose hope from time to time. But all they need is to be reminded of the good in the world. Invincible Boy is a fantastic new short film written & directed by Julian Park, and produced by Dan Marcus, who often writes for us. Shot in Los Angeles, the film stars Kaleb Alexander Roberts and Nathan Kim as two young friends, one of whom might just be a superhero. The cast includes Anna Garcia, Steve Phelan, & Shane Yoon. This is a long short (20 minutes), but it's entirely worth it.
"As a soul of totality, you will always be part of the whole of something." Last year, a total solar eclipse was visible across America - and people went crazy over it. During that eclipse, filmmaker Richard Raymond got a crew and shot this short film - Souls of Totality. It won Best Short at the Raindance Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Prize at Hollyshorts, and is now available online to watch. Souls of Totality follows Lady 18 and Guy 3, who have a secret. They are members of a cult that believes if they die during a Solar Eclipse their souls will be taken to paradise. But their secret… is that they are profoundly in love. Starring Tatiana Maslany & Tom Cullen, plus Mike Tague & Helen Shaver. It runs a bit long, but it's an affecting film.
"Three friends. Three secrets. One way out." Remember all those fun slasher movies in the 90s, like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer? This amusing new horror comedy short film titled The Thing I Never Told You is a wacky spoof sort of inspired by those movies. The short is made by, written by, and stars Larissa Gritti, Lynn Justinger, and Matt Steiner, all three of whom a part of ellemelle pictures. They made this on a shoe-string budget and in a very short amount of time. The Thing I Never Told You is about three childhood friends who've reunited but are carrying around deep, dark secrets that could bring them closer together or tear them apart forever. Ha! This short is as odd and goofy as they come. Have fun.
"These days, you think you met your soulmate. Next thing you know, they change their number and steal all your stuff." Can artificial intelligence actually write intelligent scripts? Or at least – interesting scripts? Progress Bar is the latest film partially created by artificial intelligence (the short film Sunspring was the first one). This experimental short film about relationships "attempts to harness the inherent absurdity of dialogue generated by A.I. by placing it within the confines of a more traditional (human-written) narrative film structure." Starring Jennifer Kim, Lucy Walters, and Kevin Breznahan. Made by the same team behind the other shorts The Grey Matter and Therefore I Am that we've featured previously. Worth a watch.