Several years ago, I was lying awake around 5:00am, desperately trying to avoid the alarm clock. The house was dark and quiet, my daughter was still sleeping soundly in her room, and the neighbors hadn’t woken yet. The door to my bedroom was open, which always made me feel safer than having it closed, and the hallway loomed menacingly just outside of its passage. I was uncomfortable, but did not want to move from the safe haven of my mattress. I did what we all do in these situations – I picked up my phone and started cruising Facebook.
I scrolled through countless posts – some people looking for friends to talk through an insomniac night, some still awake possessed by the need to tell the world of their woes and their strong opinions on health care or the state of our government – when I came across a short film posted by a friend that I found rather interesting. I clicked on the link, and 5 minutes later, the indescribable threat that I felt just outside of the bedroom door seemed to seep into my room and fill me with an unshakable paralysis.
It was that night that I had discovered short films.
Where had this niche been all my life?! As a horror movie connoisseur, I had become numb to the never-ending barrage of strange creatures and psychologically disturbed individuals. But this film…it shook me to the core. Excited, I started scouring the internet for other short films and disturbing clips, and found an untapped world full of disturbances and creativity that I had never known before. Let me tell you, friends…you don’t need a full hour and a half of your life to feel terrified. You just need a moment in time.
So, I am happy to report that I want to share the magic of short films with the world, and after hours of watching my way through substandard and mediocre films, I have compiled a list of 10 short horror and sci-fi films that are absolute must-sees. This is by no means a comprehensive list – there are so many good ones out there, posted every day. I encourage anyone reading this article to do some exploration and find what speaks to you. There is a ton of content out there by up-and-coming artists, and even amateurs, that is just different and captivating. I hope the following list sets you on your own adventure to horrifically exciting discoveries!
- Film By: Ben Feldman
- Duration: 14 mins, 11 secs
- Watch Here: Psychosis Short Film
- Synopsis: Isolated in his basement, programmer John becomes increasingly paranoid that he is being watched by technological devices.
- Film By: Nicole Bird
- Duration: 9 mins, 22 secs
- Watch Here: Mirrored Short Film
- Synopsis: Dylan, a hardcore gamer, gets more than he bargained for when he orders a new mirror for his apartment bathroom.
The Manual (2019)
- Film By: Wil Magness
- Duration: 26 mins, 42 secs
- Watch Here: The Manual Short Film
- Synopsis: Orphaned at the age of 4, James is raised in a post-apocalyptic world by his faithful servant, a machine.
- Film By: Antonio Perez
- Duration: 11 mins, 45 secs
- Watch Here: Luna Short Film
- Synopsis: A small desert family is attacked by a gunslinger…but does he have good reason for his actions?
Exit Strategy (2018)
- Film By: Travis Bible
- Duration: 14 mins, 55 secs
- Watch Here: Exit Strategy Short Film
- Synopsis: Shane and his brother, Matt, try desperately to stop a disastrous event through the use of a time loop.
Lights Out (2013)
- Film By: David Sandberg
- Duration: 2 mins, 42 secs
- Watch Here: Lights Out Short Film
- Synopsis: A woman settling into bed for the night finds something disturbing in her apartment when she turns out the lights.
- Film By: Rodrigo Blaas
- Duration: 5 mins, 30 secs
- Watch Here: Alma Short Film
- Synopsis: An animated film about a small child who finds something delightful in a town shop window.
The Secret Number (2017)
- Film By: Colin Levy
- Duration: 13 mins, 46 secs
- Watch Here: The Secret Number Short Film
- Synopsis: Professor Ersheim is convinced that he has discovered a new integer, “bleem”, that resides between numbers 3 and 4.
The Armoire (2019)
- Film By: Evan Cooper
- Duration: 13 mins, 34 secs
- Watch Here: The Armoire Short Film
- Synopsis: A young, hopeful actress newly arriving in Los Angeles brings a used armoire into her sparse apartment, unaware of what else she has invited in.
Watch Room (2019)
- Film By: Noah Wagner
- Duration: 15 mins, 39 secs
- Watch Here: Watch Room Short Film
- Synopsis: Nate and his colleagues struggle to correct a flaw in their simulation program.
What are your favorite short films? Drop a comment below and let me know…happy watching!
*Original cover photo credit: Hope Devlin (Pinterest)
Author: Sara Varner
Sara was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, where she spent most of her days pursuing community theater ambitions and attending the local Arts Magnet School for Theater Arts. Following graduation, she moved to Orlando, FL and then to Memphis, TN before finally settling in Central New Jersey. (Yes, it’s a real place.) It was here that she raised her daughter, a true Jersey girl, on horror movies and stalker shows. In her early 30s, Sara decided to follow her passions for the paranormal and join a local investigation team, quickly moving through the ranks and becoming Director of Investigations. After 3 years, she decided to put this love on hold to complete her degree in Forensic Psychology (to be continued...).
A practicing Pagan, Sara enjoys all things horror related and anything strange or macabre. Her hobbies are studying the paranormal, binging true crime shows, watching Markiplier play horror games on YouTube, and wood burning.