Short horror films are the miniature Reese’s cups of the horror genre. They can be ingested pretty quickly, and if you’re into them, will satisfy your craving ..while most likely having you come back for more. While that bag of Reese’s will eventually run out, running out of horror short films would take you quite a while.
Entering the world of short horror films online is like entering a never-ending abyss. There are so many out there. Weeding out the spectacular and horrific films from the less than spectacular and horrific ones is a feat that only a person with an ample amount of time could accomplish.
There are hundreds of them that are definitely worth a watch, and what follows is a list of 10 of what could be considered some of the best horror short films on Youtube.
The Midnight Jester
Directed by Craig Fisher
Craig Fisher’s award winning (Fear International Horror Film Genre Awards, Fear International Horror Film Genre Awards) The Midnight Jester follows Jenny, who is heading home after work when her night takes a terrifying turn with the arrival of a stranger, dressed as a Jester. Filmed in just one day with zero budget, The Midnight Jester, along with his creepy creepy sidekick, creates a feeling of mischief along with a legitimate creep factor. Visit Fisher’s Youtube to view his other short films, including You’ve Been Bad, which was also shot in one day, right after The Midnight Jester, and is equally as inventive.
Directed by Matt Bloom
Matt Bloom’s Endless is one of the more unique horror shorts that I’ve come across. It is shown entirely in slow motion. This makes the story being told within all the more effective as it gives a new layer of emotions that the characters portray. In the visually beautiful short, a mother must protect her daughter from an invader in their house. The visuals aren’t the only reason to watch the film as its story holds some captivating twists and turns. Endless has rightfully earned awards (London Independent Film Fest, Worldfest, Las Vegas Film Festival), and was an Official Selection at many film festivals. Visit Matt Bloom’s Youtube to view his other short films.
Directed by Julian Terry
It’s surprising that a smart speaker hasn’t been utilized in a horror film since their debuts. Julian Terry does just that in his short, Whisper. As the lead settles in for bed, her smart speaker responds to an unseen voice, leading her to confusion and fear. Whisper will definitely make you think twice about Alexa. Visit Terry’s Youtube to view his other short films including The Nurse, winner of the My Annabelle Creation contest.
I Heard It Too
Directed by Matt Sears
Based on a two sentence horror story of “A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said “I heard that, too,” I Heard It Too gives a few moments of genuine suspense. Matt Sears captures that “just before bedtime” bonding moment between a mother and daughter, and follows it up with a dreadful game of hide and seek. Visit Sears’ Youtube page to view his other short films, and learn about a project that he is working on including Javier Botet (IT, The Conjuring 2).
2AM: The Smiling Man
Directed by Michael Evans
Based on a true story from a reddit user, 2AM: The Smiling Man taps into the anxiety of coming across a strange person while on a seemingly harmless walk at night. I don’t know about you, but there’s something incredibly scary about a creepy character suddenly bolting towards you. This short takes it there. Visit Evans’ Youtube for more of his short films.
Directed by David F. Sandberg
David F. Sandberg, director of both the short film and feature-length film of Lights Out as well as Annabelle: Creation and Shazam!, captivates with another short dealing with lights. Taking place within one singular location, Attic Panic creates … panic … with the use of light bulbs and a spectre under a white sheet, It’s been a while since a spectral white sheet has made me verbally say, “Nope.” Twice. While squinting my eyes. Visit Sandberg’s Youtube page for more of his horror shorts (that – along with this one – star his wife, Lotta Losten), and for behind the scenes looks on the feature films that he has directed.
Directed by Drew Daywalt
Bedfellows is the third short film on this list to occur at or after bedtime, but darn it, if this film that went viral a few years back isn’t a creepy one. Clocking in at a mere 90 seconds, it takes you from calm to “oh crap!” levels within moments. This is mostly in part to the creature design because it may stick with you for a few. Visit Drew Dewalt’s Youtube page for more of his short films as well as a 20 part web series titled Camera Obscura which also has some pretty intense creature designs.
Directed by Zach Davies
Zach Davies’ Mannequin comes across as very Twilight Zonesque in that it’s a very dark and subdued tale, but packs quite the punch at the end. Mannequin is “a horror thriller in which a lonely costume designer working within an old theatre begins to hear bumps in the night upon the arrival of a mysterious Mannequin.” Being backstage of a theater all alone at night is a place that elicits some fears, and to see it brought to life via the eyes of a costumer is very effective. Visit Davies’ Youtube page for more of his short films.
Directed by Andrea Ricca
Andrea Ricca’s The Furfangs is a throwback to the classic little creatures run amok films with a dash of Roger Corman sensibilities added in. A group of fur clad aliens crash-land in a man’s apartment, and create chaos within his humble abode. Full of furry little CGI creations and chaotic antics, The Furfangs is a delightful watch. Visit Ricca’s Youtube page for more of her short films where many more nifty CGI creatures await.
Directed by David Firth
David Firth’s Hell is included solely based on the fact that I felt like I’d come across a video that could be substituted as the videotape from the Ring franchise. While I’ve yet to determine a true narrative for the piece, the visuals are absolutely disturbing. Part claymation and part stop motion animation, the short makes you feel like you’re watching something that you shouldn’t be watching, and once you do, you’re unsure of the next few moments of your life. And that, fiends, makes it worth watching. Visit Firth’s Youtube for more insane animations.
Members of the horror community are an incredibly dedicated and talented bunch. Within these short films, ten different worlds are created in just a few minutes. It’s amazing what the creators of these films can do with their content in such a short amount of time, and with – at times – no or a limited budget.