I’ve already had done a selection of six short horror movies, that you can verify here. I also explain the pros and cons of seeing this type of film, but it’s never enough to reinforce the arguments.
For constraints of time (and mostly budget), short horror movies – shorts in general, so to speak – are usually very objective, even if they begin with a sideline or background story. Moreover, if you watch a more extensive short, one that has almost thirty minutes, for example, the story evolves and develops as a cohesive unity, and you really don’t have time to get bored, especially movies that are very concise. On the other hand, there is a negative side: sometimes the movie is exceedingly good, and when you become profoundly involved in the story, the movie ends.
It’s imperative to disseminate the culture of short movies – in any genre, not just horror – because there are so many incredibly talented people involved in this mostly independent projects – directors, screenwriters, actors –, that unquestionably deserves more exposure. And who really wins is the public, that learns how to appreciate not just an entirely exotic form of art, that is a majestic and marvelously singular form of expression by its own merits, but incorporates into its culture a more vast and wide conjuncture of creative possibilities. It’s interesting to observe how these movies – not just short movies, of course, this also applies to feature films – are incorporating elements of technology, especially social media, to create relevant plots and intriguing premises, showcasing the dark side of digital revolution and virtual progress. On the movies featured below, being home alone is also another common theme.
Well, here are the movies selected this time. I hope you enjoy!
1 – Alexia
The story is not entirely original. There are many other movies with the same premise, even shorts. Nevertheless, the movie – almost nine minutes long – presents itself decently, as an involving, cohesive and intriguing narrative.
3 –The Glitch
Todd is persistent and asks to talk to her personally. She refuses and then the doorbell rings, followed by a knock on the door. Kelly doesn’t answer, and Todd again sends new messages, informing Kelly that he has to say something to her, and has to be personally. Kelly then starts to eat a meal her housemate has prepared specially for her. Not too long after, she starts to feel bad and collapses. Despite the plot twist in the end, it’s not that difficult to figure it out the background story right before its conclusion.
Frightened by the morbid story and the energy that suddenly goes out, the night watchman sees again the strange creature in the parking lot. Forced to accept that Larry is real and is watching him, he uses the laptop to help him observe the creature, until he loses Larry from sight. When he pulls away the laptop, he sees Larry right in front of him. When the lights return and he sees two customers returning to their car – the only one that remains in the parking lot – he feels alleviated, and begins to wonder if he was somewhat delusional. But to his distress, the horror was just beginning.
6 –A Night At Home
Assuming a friend had visited him when he was in the shower, he calls his friend demanding satisfactions, but his friend doesn’t take the blame. Saying that he had left a bottle of gin in the refrigerator, when he verifies, he sees that there is no bottle at all. In some brief passages of the movie, it is possible to see a dreadful mask in the wall observing the main character. When he sees a mysterious figure reflected in the mirror, he discovers too late a horrifying presence lurking in the dark.
8 –How to Be Alone
When her boyfriend leaves for the night shift, a girl (Maika Monroe) has the whole house to herself. Then she starts to wander, and the border between reality and imagination begins to blur. A very interesting psychological horror movie, the story allows the audience to submerge into the deeply surreal universe of the protagonist’s mind, in an attempt to discover what demons she has to confront.
9 –Charlie Boy
Soon thereafter – when she is in the bathroom –, she starts to hear strange noises. Then someone bangs on the bathroom door. She opens the door, and her wheelchair bumps into a saucer with a cup on the floor. She calls her son again, but only the voicemail responds, so she leaves a message. After a few more moments, she sees the strange figure again, just for him to disappear in a matter of seconds.
While in her bed, she tries to convince herself that she is only having a delusional experience. She lies down, and turns on the radio. Then the electricity starts to oscillate, and she hears disturbing noises. Then she listens a knock in her door bedroom. Soon after, the door is violently opened, and someone enters the room. For her relief, it’s her son, that became worried and decided to check upon her personally. To comfort his mother, he checks the entire house, including the basement. Unfortunately, while inspecting the basement, he has a terrible surprise. In desperation, the old lady begins to pray. Then she hears a child’s voice, and everything becomes more sinister than the night itself.
After grabbing a knife in the kitchen to protect himself, the man goes towards the building corridor, where he sees the hooded figure. In fear, he returns to his apartment, in a moment where the lights fade away. He grabs a flashlight and his mobile rings again. After a brief conversation, the assailant says some words, where becomes implicit that he is seeking some kind of revenge. Unfortunately, for the young victim, his worst nightmares were just beginning.
11 – A Boy’s Life
Looking at a portrait, the mother begins to cry, probably grieving for her deceased husband, a navy officer. Meanwhile, her soon keeps drawing pictures of monsters and horrible creatures. She screams with him for using around his neck the military medallions of his father. Nevertheless, she warmly tries to connect with her son by telling him an apparently scary story, that was in fact an opportunist encounter she had with a raccoon, underlining the narrative with the importance of overcoming personal fears. After the end of the story, though, the boy seemed profoundly disappointed.
At night, after going to sleep, the boy wakes up hours later, deeply disturbed. Hearing some noises, he illuminates his bedroom with the flashlight. The noise persists, and the boy gets even more anxious, and activates traps he had prepared with his toys the day before. When one of the traps apparently had caught something, the boy go to his mother’s room, and calls her desperately.
His mother becomes angry when she sees the floor wet – as one of the traps involved water –, so she picks up a towel and gives to the boy to dry the floor; then she says there are no monsters in the house, and gets even more disturbed after seeing the medallions of her husband in her son’s bedroom floor.
In an interesting turn of events, the mother decides to take part on what she assumes to be her son’s game. She puts the medallions around his neck, grabs the flashlight and says to the monster that both are now going after him. Then both act as if they were in a war zone, and the mother acts as very involved in the performance. Then she shouts that the monster is under the bed, and the boy shoots at him with a toy gun.
After the play, she puts the boy to sleep. When she is about to leave, she hears a strange noise, then something grabs her by the legs, and pulls her under the bed.
12 –The Haunting
13 –The Field
When the children leave, they go meet a man – an acquaintance of Sarah – that supposedly had an experience in the field. After persistently asking, he narrates them his personal incursion into the field, becoming a little distressed. Very curious and determined to fulfill the challenge, the children decide to go into the field anyway. The group split and decide to reunite at night. While eating lunch, Jacob, the youngest, tell his mother what he and his friends are planning to do, and his mother forbids him of going there. Later, she tells him a scary story that explains her fear about the location, and Jacob asks her if she has ever done the challenge. Soon thereafter, while trying to sleep, the door of his closet opens, and Jacob sees a pair of eyes staring at him. Then a mysterious creature attacks him, and suddenly he awakes, realizing he just had a nightmare. A little later, he goes on his bicycle to the place where he is supposed to meet Max and Sarah. When the three reunite, they finally go to the field. The first to get close is Max, that, after approaching the fence, returns screaming, though he haven’t saw anything sinister. Then Sarah goes next, and returns crying. She insists Jacob not to go there, but he goes anyway. After approaching the fence, he listens to somber and mysterious noises, and then he sees the cat’s eyes in the midst of a dense fog. Then many hands touch him. At first frightened, Jacob then feels relief, and jumps the fence into the other side. The narrative voiceover leaves implicit that Jacob has disappeared into another dimension, and then we see the other children desperately looking for him. In the aftermath, its early morning, and we see police officers with Sarah and Max, and a rescue team in the field, trying to find Jacob, along with his mother. Then one member of the rescue team finds a sneaker, that presumably belonged to Jacob.
15 –The Witching Hour
As Halloween approaches, both women leaves pumpkins in the forest, near the wooden cross, while returning the book to the same place where they had find it, in the hopes that – whatever spell they had released –, may be dormant again. Suddenly, Kira is killed by the witch, just for Charmaine to wake up, realizing she just had a nightmare. After choosing Halloween costumes in a store hours later, both women start the night preparing a Jack-o'-lantern. After listening to mysterious noises in the house, someone knocks the door, frightening both women. After a violent knock, the door opens by itself. Charmaine closes the front door, then both women seeks refuge inside the house, as the noises increasingly become more atrocious and sinister.
Soon, Charmaine sees the witch by the window. Kira decides to leave. She goes to her house, and there, bizarre things happen, like doors opening up, and a swarm of insects attacks her. As Halloween approaches, the two friends find each other near the wooden cross in the woods. Charmaine thinks that burning the book will free both from the witch curse, but burning the book proves to be a very difficult task, as all the matches that she lights fade out rapidly. Soon thereafter, both women are severely beaten by the witch. Nonetheless, one of them manages to burn the book.
Charmaine’s mother sees her face severely beaten, so she demands an explanation. Then she makes a terrible confession to her daughter, revealing that she had known much more about the curse than what anyone could have possibly imagined. Charmaine then goes to Kira’s house, to tell her about the exceedingly complicated nature of the curse. She was a target from the beginning, because the witch wishes to kill all the descendants of the people who murdered her. This should have excluded Kira, since she is not a local, and her ancestors didn’t lived in the community. Positive that they are safe since burning the book, Kira urges them to enjoy Halloween.
In the Halloween night, the girls go to a party, while Charmaine’s mother stays at home watching horror movies. Then, she hears a knock on the door, but when she answers, there’s nobody there. Then she hears someone whispering, and in the next scene, she lets the plate with candy fall to the ground, just to be viciously attacked by the witch. Then Charmaine tries to call her. Since she doesn’t answer, Charmaine gets worried, and decides to leave the party, to check upon her mother.
When she arrives home, she finds a lot of Jack-o'-lanterns, and her mother dead. Kira is then taken and killed by the witch. Charmaine sees the witch coming down the stairs, and tries to run away, but the front door is locked. She flees to the living room, but is surprised there by the witch, that is everywhere to be seen. She is then imprisoned in a pentagram, surrounded by pumpkins. The witch then stabs Charmaine with a knife, but even mortally wounded, she manages to escape. Then, in a surprising turn of events, Charmaine reveals herself to be some kind of sorceress, thus successfully subjugating the witch.
16 –Dark Things
As she is troubled by her visions, she decides to investigate, and uncovers evidence of a crime related to Satanism. When she finally confronts her husband, he admits that he has otherworldly visions too. Soon thereafter, ghosts from the past return to torment the couple.
17 – Woods
The writer lives in relative isolation. When he wakes up in the morning, and walks outside with his dog, he sees that someone has messed up with one of his windows. Minutes later – deeper into the forest –, he sees in a tree the mysterious shadow that appeared in his nightmare, but it disappears as fast as it came. Then he stars to cut trees with an axe, to relax, and later he tells a friend what is happening to him. His restless nights are filled with extreme anxiety, and he always wakes up at dawn waiting for something to happen. In one occasion, someone bangs on the door violently. He goes outside, and sees some figures moving behind the bushes.
When he pulls out a manuscript from his desk, titled Dark Strings, by Angela Stramen, we speculate that this woman is probably the lady that appears by his side in a portrait that he constantly looks upon, and that his book by the same title was indeed written by her, a work that she dedicated to him. In one single page, there is this picture of a horrible creature, similar to the one he constantly draws.
Soon thereafter, John burns a doll over a barrel in the forest. Then, someone with a creepy voice starts talking to him. Taking courage, he turns around his head, just to see the abominable and dreadful shadow of his nightmares, that horrendously multiplies. When he turns his eyes again after a few seconds, the creature had disappeared. John lives his days stuck in this uninterrupted cycle of intermittent hauntings.
In one occasion, confiding his problems to his friend Beth, John says he made a terrible mistake and now he's paying for it. He explained that he “took something from this person”, and used for personal benefits, probably referring to his book, that he plagiarized from his deceased wife. His friend asked “did the person it belong to find out?” to which he responded “she can’t… she’s dead”.
At night, he wakes up with the noise of his favorite portrait falling into the ground. Then he sees an enormous radiance by the window. He goes outside, and sees that someone has thrown his car into flames. By this point deeply paranoid, John gets suspicious of everybody around him.
In another night, John wakes up, and misses Baako, his dog. He gets up, sees a lot of paper scattered in the floor, and then searches for his dog, to find only the collar, along with a trail of blood in the grass. He then calls 911, only to hear in the end the voice of his friend in the place of the attendant’s. He sees also the colossal shadowy creature observing him from a distance. Then he sees other shadowy creatures.
He then enters a shed, and with an axe decides to confront the creatures. He sees there a man hanging from the ceiling. In another lodging, he sees miniature dolls, and hear nefarious steps. He hides behind a staircase, and down the stairs appears two masked men dressed in black. Both call him by name, and one has a female voice. Then John attacks one of them with his axe. Then his friend, Beth, takes off her mask, and tells John that they were just kidding. Then she says that the man John attacked is dead.
Soon another man appears – a neighbor John had reprimanded earlier –, and John attacks him too, accusing him of having murdered his dog. Beth says that his dog is with her, and his neighbor says they were just trying to help. Beth explains to John that they were trying to help him find inspiration for his next novel. Then the shadowy creatures appear from the upper ceiling, and John loses his temper, screaming with the ghostly creatures. Beth and the other guy doesn’t see anything towards the place John is staring to. Then John starts to cry.
In the final scene, we see John locked in a mental institution, working in a sequel to Dark Strings. He still listen to the voices and sees the dark creatures.
An excellent movie directed by Sean van Leijenhorst – that displays perfectly what a profoundly disturbed and guilty conscience can do to a person –, Woods is probably the best movie featured on this list.
18 – Beyond the Basement Door
When he goes home, he sees his neighbors agglomerated in front of his residence; one lady says that someone has heard strange noises coming from his basement. When he enters his house, he sees a neighbor fixing his refrigerator, and saying that noises came from downstairs. Alistair says that possums made a nest there, and he will have to call an exterminator to solve the problem, but they doesn’t have to worry about it. Alistair rapidly expels his neighbor, while another one enters unnoticed by the front door, willing to experiment a key she found on the front yard. Apparently, they heard her entering; the neighbor persistently try to make his way into the house, saying that the noise they are hearing certainly isn’t made by possums.
The women experiments the key in the door lock; it matches, but Alistair manages to interrupt her, saying that she cannot go there. Alistair then expels his two neighbors for good. The woman says that she felt like something was calling her. Alistair then calls someone by the phone, but without saying anything, turns off after a few seconds. While resting near the basement, he suddenly has an anxiety attack, and hides himself in the bathroom. Apparently, he is seeking refuge from a dangerous person.
He rests in the bathtub, and suddenly gets delusional, before recovering reason. In the next moment, he starts talking to his boss, Roman Grady, that says to Alistair that he wants to talk about what he had done to him. Alistair then replies, saying that he had took everything away from him. By the way they talk to each other, it is implied that Alistair had cancer, but was cured. Grady also knows about crimes and felonies committed by Alistair, and demands Alistair to stop saying to everybody how he had ruined him. He says that Alistair took great advantage in being fired, because he associated himself with an obscure organization. Grady continues, saying that people are chasing him to put their hands on what he has on the basement. Then Alistair asks Grady where he had been for the past couple weeks, and Grady responds by saying that he is exactly where Alistair had left him, “buried in the backyard”, leaving implicit the fact that Alistair probably had killed him, and he is delusional again, something that is confirmed in the next scene, as we see Alistair completely alone in the living room.
Someone then calls Alistair, and says by the phone “its time”, and then he enters the basement. There, he stops in front of a camera, knowing that he is being observed. He see faces being projected in a white screen. Then he enters into a special chamber, and a voice transmitted by a loud speaker starts communicating with him. Meanwhile, his intrusive neighbor enters the house incognito, and she goes directly to the basement. Anticipating this, Alistair surprises her, and kills her with a shovel, after she screamed in panic, for seeing something horrendous off-screen.
While contemplating an aquarium, Alistair has apparently pleasant reminiscences, that becomes more sinister, when the beautiful woman that is accompanying him gives a severe bite on his neck; so this was the reason behind the bandage that Alistair had on the neck the entire time, as well as the stitches, seen when he removed the bandage. Then Alistair takes off the aquarium a bizarre creature – that appears to be an alien –, with explicit orders of how taking care the little monster, having the obligation of showing him the pictures in the projector every twelve hours. He then starts to act like a father to the nefarious creature. An unknown person, that can be seen from behind, as well as from some other angles, gives orders to Alistair uninterruptedly. He also says that the creature is only the first of its kind, “soon there will be many more”. He also urges Alistair to move, for there will be hunters trying to prey on him and the creature.
Alistair receives in his home his friend from the cafeteria. He deliberately lets the creature gets out of the cage, to kill the woman. In the final scene, Alistair is seen in his car, leaving the city, with the creature in a little cage, by his side. Beyond the Basement Door was written and directed by Jason Huls.
19 – The House of Mary Grey
A few weeks later, Kyle goes to her house in the forest with two more women, his girlfriend Sadie, and electronic technician Rachel, for further investigation. Initially they think no one leaves there, because it is possible to see that there is no furniture in the house, but then Mary appears, and welcomes them.
She leads them to a corridor, where they start the investigations. The place strangely looks more like an abandoned school than a residence. They rapidly install the equipment, after which Mary starts to behave in a very eccentric pattern. Sadie then sees a mysterious dark figure, that disappears as fast as it came. Soon thereafter, they find strange paraphernalia in a wicket; among the miscellanea, there is a camera with recorded footage. It registered scenes of a team of paranormal enthusiasts, that investigated the same place where they are now, in an earlier occasion.
Then they find the file of a psychiatric institution, with information about Mary Grey, soon discovering that her real name is Mabel Green. She suffers from several distressful mental conditions, including paranoid schizophrenia. They discover that they are in an abandoned psychiatric facility. Kyle wants to find Mary, but Sadie and Rachel stop him.
They manage to go outside, but they discover that their vehicle is gone. Entering the building again, they see Mary, and Kyle tries to confront her. She confesses that all his friends died there, and expresses a nefarious, unstable and erratic behavior, taking pride of how haunted the place is. Then she asks them if they don’t want to be part of her collection.
The trio try to run away. They end up in a run, after which Rachel closes the door, and demands that Sadie and Kyle save themselves. She is immediately killed by the malevolent entity hunting them. Outside, Kyle asks Sadie to save herself. Behind him, the evil entity involves Kyle in a black smoke and kills him; so Sadie becomes the only survivor of the group, running for her life.
In the forest, Sadie touches a vase, and soon thereafter, the evil entity appears close to her. Nevertheless, the sensitive energy of Kyle – along with the previous victims of the entity – manages to avenge themselves, and kill the malevolent creature. Sadie gets near the evil entity, pulls the mask off, and sees Mary Grey dead.
Then the story jumps to fifteen years later. Two teenagers are talking, and one of them gets a Ouija board, that she said she found on her mother’s wardrobe, and belonged to her father, or to his friend that disappeared. She then picks up a picture, where it is possible to see Kyle with another man. Then her friend asks if they would use the Ouija board to contact him, a possibility that the girl confirms.
The girl calls her father. Then they hear a strange noise. Sadie and another woman, the mother of one of the girls, reprimands Sadie for letting the Ouija board accessible to the girls. She picks up her daughter and then leaves. Then the audience realize that the girl in the room is Sadie’s and Kyle’s daughter, and she never managed to know her father. Before Kyle had met his tragic fate, Sadie had confided to Rachel that she was pregnant, and was looking for the right opportunity to tell him, but given the circumstances, she never had the chance.
In the final scene, the girl goes out of her room in the middle of the night, and sees a vase over a wood structure, similar to the one her mother had encountered in the forest fifteen years before, and touches it. Then, from the dark emerges an evil entity, ready to prey on the girl.
Some minutes later, the tranquility of the night shift is disturbed when, inexplicably, music comes from a room that is empty, and the door of a storeroom opens by itself. While checking the other rooms, bizarre things starts to happen. Suddenly, Flip hears a terribly dreadful voice, and gets profoundly scared. He then decides to investigate what is going on, and courageously heads towards the direction where the voice came.
Perceiving a putrid smell coming from downstairs, Flip wants to discover what is causing such a stench, but the door to the subterranean pavement is locked. When he goes away, behind his back a mysterious figure dressed in a hospital apron can be seen passing by, and easily opening the door; Flip turns around, get a glimpse of the figure, and sees the door open. A little frightened, he grabs a flashlight, and goes down to investigate what is going on.
Down below, the security officer calls for the person he believes he saw upstairs. Disturbed by the dark, Flip gets nervous when he sees a knotted rope hanging from the ceiling. Soon, it is possible to see someone chasing him. Perceiving that someone is after him, Flip runs upstairs, but the door to the first floor strangely closes by itself, and he is unable to open it by the inside. Although he is desperate, he has no other option, but to return to the subterranean.
Very cautious, he illuminates the darkness with his flashlight. He gets really scared, though, when a children’s toy ball run to his feet. Then a ghostly apparition suddenly comes from behind. The security officer runs away in desperation. After finding a hideout, he hears a girl crying, and illuminates with his flashlight the place from where the sound is coming. Then he sees another ghostly creature, and runs away one more time. Then he sees an enormously dangerous man (played by Lee Boxleitner) lurking in the dark, and again runs away for his life. Flip luckily crossed a gate that he managed to close. But his good fortunes lasts only for a few seconds. Soon he is encircled by three ghostly creatures, and is hanged by one of them.
In the morning, the artist that bothered Flip in the beginning of the movie with his wife is seen entering the building. He gets a little distressed when he sees the door of his studio opened. Then he has the fright of his life when he comes across a zombie version of Flip.