Short Films

Event (2001)
★★★★☆

Produced by director Teresa Kuan and her cinematographer Sarah Johnson, Event, is a rarity in that it features Scream Queen Debra Lamb in one the few student films she starred in during the early 2000s. During this period, Debra did just this and one other USC, and two UCLA student films. The closing song is "The Cuppycake Song," written in 1994 by Judianna Castle and sung by her then-three year-old daughter. Despite its cuteness, the tune, coupled with the grainy black and white rolling credits, provides for a very eerie ending.

Bedfellows (2008)
★★★★★

Drew Daywalt's 2008 horror short Bedfellows is very short, very simple, and awesomely terrifying. It stars Kerry Finlayson, who's a seasoned actress and no stranger to fright films. As scary and as short as this film is (2:30 including titles and credits), I think it would have been even scarier if it would have been even a little shorter, by going to the credits about 15 seconds earlier.  

DREAMer (2011)
★★★★☆

Destiny Soria gives a winning dramatic performance as Patricia, a Hispanic student raised in the US, trying to overcome the bureaucratic obstacles to become a legal US citizen, in this Antonio Rodriguez short. This co-stars Danielle Palmer (who was one of the stars of Doug Phillips' Remake) as Patricia's friend and classmate.

Lights Out (2013)
★★★★★

Have you ever been home alone and heard a noise after you turn the lights out? You turn the lights on and everything seems to be fine. Shut the lights out, and a minute later, there's that strange sound again. Is there something there in the darkness that isn't there in the light? Or someone? Of course not. You've just seen too many horror films and have an overactive imagination. Or it's just the wind ....or the house settling. However, if you actually see something in the dark that isn't there in the light ....

Directed by David F. Sandberg, this chilling short film focuses on the lone occupant of an isolated house (played by Lotta Losten) is ready to turn in for the night when she realizes she doesn't seem to be alone. It's a simple premise to one of the most frighting short films in recent memory. The award-winning short has recently gotten a surge of online views and currently, the count is over six million on Vimeo and over two million on Youtube.

Mannequin (2013)
★★★★☆

This short from Cowmaster Studios is testimonial to the interesting things apartment dwellers can find discarded by their fellow tenants. Of course, it's unclear if the mannequin was discarded by someone, or perhaps, escaped from a department store and was just hanging out at the complex's trash area (since it's a place visited often and by every resident there), in hopes someone would take her into their apartment.

For whatever reason the mannequin was there, when the lovely resident (played by Amelia Gotham) just snapped a photo of the mysterious figure and walked away, it apparently pissed off the living doll. The ending leaves the viewer guessing the outcome.

Skypemare (2013)
★★★★★

John Fitzpatrick's 2013 horror short Skypemare, has won several awards at major film festivals and earned very favorable reviews from horror critics. Even though the two main characters are chatting through Skype, a modern social medium, the film follows a simple, straightforward premise that was always a winning formula for so many classic slasher movies of the late-70s to mid-80s: Girls home alone at night (and in this case, it's Halloween, no less), TV newscaster reporting on an escaped maniac loose in the area, etc. However, this story takes a different turn at the end and serves as an example of what can be the unfortunate consequence of a very well played prank.

6:30pm (2014)
★★★☆☆

As I was watching the Nigerian short film 6:30pm I kept saying, "this is gonna be good," since I was anticipating a shocking and climatic ending to a very suspenseful 9 minutes and 40 seconds. What I got instead was (SEMI-SPOILER ALERT) an anticlimactic ending that made me say "huh?" "so, that's it?" and "did I miss something??"

The film's lovely actress and co-writer, Ijeoma Aniebo, plays a lady arriving home from work every evening at precisely 6:30 PM (hence the film's title) and being greeted by her seemingly friendly male neighbor (played by co-producer Adeyemi Okanlawon) from the balcony of his second floor, silently beckoning her to come up. The reason is unclear.

Since Ijoema's character tells her friend on the telephone that she "got a new neighbor," it implies that she's been living there awhile but had just recently started seeing this man next door. Why he suddenly became visible and so "inviting" to her is also unclear and up to the viewer's interpretation.

(More coming soon)
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