SAFE AND SOUND – Horror Short

While babysitting a precocious six-year-old, a teenage girl is stalked by a shadowy presence that sets off the home security system. The alarm meant to protect the house becomes an amplifying terror while they attempt to survive the night.

 

Safe and Sound is a fun little horror short, with an interesting setup.

SAFE AND SOUND - Horror Short

 

Director: Ian Kammer
Writer: Ian Kammer, Joshua Storms
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: Tristan Riggs, Charlie Morgan Patton, Maranda Barskey, Christopher Thomas Copeland, Mark Stancato
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt15382946/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitors (2003)

Georgia Perry (Radha Mitchell) is a stubborn and strong-willed young woman: she’s decided to travel around the world in her 44-foot sloop, all by herself (well, almost…she’s got her cat for company). Being used to spending time at sea, and also spending time alone, it goes pretty well at first. She’s used to enjoying her own company, and the cat provides just enough social comfort. Then, the solitude starts taking its toll…while starting with small and insignificant things like starting to talk to her cat…which isn’t uncommon…I mean, who doesn’t talk to their feline companion once in a while? Except, of course, the cat starts talking back to her. A big red flag for her mental well being there, all right. But when she also starts hearing strange noises, and a mysterious fog appears which brings with it a whole array of deceased family members who have suddenly decided to drop in for a visit, it’s time to take it seriously. Is this just a severe case of cabin fever, or is something else happening at sea?

 

Visitors is a psychological thriller directed by Richard Franklin (most known for directing Psycho 2) where nearly all of the playtime happens out at the big blue ocean. While it’s not a truly scary film, it does have a few chilling moments with creepy atmosphere and some interesting scenes. Georgia’s “ghosts” aren’t only appearing during nighttime, either, but in bright daylight as well, adding to the feeling of claustrophobia as there’s no escape. In a haunted house, you can always run outside…but what can you do if the haunting happens in a boat, far out at sea? Nothing of course, unless you want to jump aboard and drown yourself.

 

While Visitors is an okay thriller, it’s not faultless, and there are some rather questionable CGI effects which diminishes the creepy atmosphere a bit. There’s also some scenes that are chugging along a little bit too slowly. Still, overall the movie is an okay watch, mostly for its deep dive into human psychology and the effect of being alone over a long period of time, in surroundings where there’s no one and nothing for miles upon miles. It’s strange how the ocean can appear to be so open, but still so claustrophobic…no matter where you turn, there’s no rescue, nowhere to find refuge.

 

If you’re looking to get your toes wet with a movie that provides a good amount of action, I guess something like Deep Rising would be a safer bet. Visitors is a slow-burning thriller with some creepy scenes and atmosphere, and people that can relate to the idea of being all alone, while haunted by your inner demons, will probably appreciate this movie the most.

 

Visitors

 

Director: Richard Franklin
Writer: Everett De Roche
Country & year: Australia, 2003
Actors: Radha Mitchell, Susannah York, Ray Barrett, Dominic Purcell, Tottie Goldsmith, Che Timmins, Christopher Kirby, Jan Friedl, Soula Alexander, Roberta Connelly, Michelle McClatchy,
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0301989/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREEP BOX – Horror Short Film

A scientist uses groundbreaking technology to communicate with the deceased but once he is through the looking glass, there is no turning back.

 

Creep Box is an unsettling and creepy little horror short!

CREEP BOX - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Patrick Biesemans
Writer: Patrick Biesemans
Country & year: USA, 2022
Actors: Dan Cordle, Sean Mahon, Joel Nagle, Elisabeth Ness, Damani Varnado
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt18302288/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Asphyx (1973)

We meet Sir Hugo Cunningham who is an amateur scientist, and the time period is the end of the 1800s. He’s taking photographs of the dead, and have an interest in supernatural phenomena. Through photographing the dead with his newly invented camera instrument, he discovers strange spots on the photographs, that he later thinks could be an Apshyx: a ghostly entity that supposedly shows itself right at the moment when a person is about to die. Through several more experiments while having his macabre photo shoots with the recently deceased, he also gets to witness and film an execution through hanging. Through this it is revealed to him that the Asphyx can be captured by the light rays that emits from his camera invention, and when a person’s Asphyx is captured, this person becomes literally immortal and unable to die. His first test is done on a guinea pig, and when he discovers that it works, the temptation of achieving eternal life becomes too great and he decides to capture both his own and his family’s Asphyxes. But will this really lead to the bliss of immortality, or will there be dire consequences?

 

The Asphyx is an old-fashioned horror movie that can be considered to be on par with many of the Hammer horror movies, with its gothic atmosphere and scenery which is making the film a visual treat. However, similarly to the classic Hammer films there’s an abundance of dialogue and a rather scarce amount of any action. The strength lies in the movie’s rather interesting and quirky concept, together with the gothic visuals and convincing Victorian cinematography (done by Freddie Young) so if you’re familiar with this type of movie setting and can appreciate it for its attractive production design and its Poe-style gothic tale of death, loss and grief, mixed with scientific curiosity which eventually leads to obsession, then you’re in for a treat. It’s yet another tale of an upper-class scientist coming upon a discovery that offers a chance for him to play God…and of course, the decision to do so comes with dire consequences.

 

The special effects of the Asphyx itself and how they try to trap it, really reminds me of something that could have belonged in a Ghostbusters movie, although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s lightly spooky rather than creepy or frightening, and the movie even comes off as slightly silly at times. Also, the pacing might be a tad bit too slow for a modern audience…but if you like classic gothic horror films, this Hammer-esque film is definitely worth a watch.

 

The Asphyx

 

Director: Peter Newbrook
Writers: Christina Beers, Laurence Beers, Brian Comport
Country & year: UK, 1973
Actors:Robert Stephens, Robert Powell, Jane Lapotaire, Alex Scott, Ralph Arliss, Fiona Walker, Terry Scully, John Lawrence, David Grey, Tony Caunter, Paul Bacon
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0069738/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIECES OF ME – Horror Short

A struggling young starlet uncovers a deadly secret which may be the key to the fame and fortune she so desperately craves.

 

Pieces of Me is an entertaining little horror short about a young woman trying to achieve fame in rather.. unusual ways.

 

PIECES OF ME - Horror Short

 

Director: Julia Max
Writer: Julia Max
Country & year: USA, 2020
Actors: Caroline Kaplan, Caroline Williams, Cynthia Gates Fujikawa
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11295866/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HYSTERIC – Short Horror Film

A mysterious sound, a mother stricken with madness, and two daughters caught in a fight for survival.

 

Hysteric is a creepy horror short based on a mysterious sound (“The Hum”).

 

BANSHEE - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Rod Blackhurst
Writer: Rod Blackhurst
Country & year: USA, 2022
Actors: Amber Davila, Dolce Demce, Amaya Huneke
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt17677404/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BANSHEE – Horror Short Film

A string of bizarre missing person cases leads two troubled teenagers to investigate their town’s forbidden forest.

 

Banshee is a creepy and unsettling little horror short!

 

BANSHEE - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Matt Ditko
Writer: Matt Ditko
Country & year: UK, 2021
Actors: Mick Callus, Tia Divkovic, David Kovalenko
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt15010844/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE RETREAT – Horror Short Film

Mia is a young woman who is struggling to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event that has changed her life forever. She can’t sleep, she can’t eat – She can’t live. In her desperation, she seeks out the help of a highly secretive retreat lead by a shadowy female figure named Echo, who claims to have the solution to all of her problems.

 

The Retreat is a dramatic and eerie horror short where “an eye for an eye” is truly put into practice…

 

THE RETREAT - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Marcus Anthony Thomas
Writer: Tom van Overloop
Country & year: UK, 2020
Actors: Daniel Copeland, Stevie Gordon, Ryan Handley, Iniki Mariano, Charlotte Palmer, Tama Phethean, Taylah Schofield
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt12435084/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TALISMAN – Horror Short

When Yi and his superstitious Chinese parents move into a new home, tension rises as Yi believes that there is a ghost among them.

 

Talisman is a creepy horror short which takes on a different turn than one might expect…

 

TALISMAN - Horror Short

 

Director: Reangsei Phos
Writer: Nick Adams(screenplay), Reangsei Phos
Country & year: Canada, 2022
Actors: Pascale Behrman, Danny Liang, Sean Lu, Qingqing Yang
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt14544482/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Phone (2022)

The year is 1978, and the streets of a seemingly sleepy Denver suburb is prowled by a serial killer nicknamed The Grabber, who mockingly leaves black balloons in the places of abduction. We follow the daily life of siblings Finney and Gwen, who lives with their abusive alcoholic father. School is tough on the timid boy Finney, where he is frequently bullied and harassed, only occasionally getting saved by his badass friend Bruce. However, one day Bruce is abducted by The Grabber, and Gwen starts having psychic dreams regarding his kidnapping. Only days later, Finney encounters what at first appears to be a clumsy magician who needs his help, but when the boy notices the black balloons inside the magician’s truck, it’s already too late and he becomes another abductee. When Finney wakes up, he finds himself trapped in a small soundproofed basement, with a disconnected black phone hanging on the wall. His abductor is the terrifying mask-wearing “Grabber”, who appears to be playing some kind of game which Finney knows will eventually lead to his death…just like with all the other kids that were kidnapped and murdered before him. Unexpectedly, help comes from the ominous, disconnected black phone which starts ringing and gives Finney phone calls from the world of the dead…

 

The Black Phone is directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil), and is based on a short story by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son). After Deliver Us From Evil, which was released on 2014, Scott was absent from horror movie directing for a while as he was working on the Doctor Strange movie, so his comeback into this genre was long awaited. The story starts off a little slowly as we get to know the youths and prepare for the inevitable, and once Finney gets kidnapped a lot of the movie unfolds mainly in the bare-bones basement as he tries to escape and avoid playing the serial killer’s sadistic game, aided by the previous victims who contacts him through the black phone. There are some creepy scenes and the setting is atmospheric enough, although it never really breaks the surface of becoming truly scary. It is mostly the performances that really carries the movie, especially the child actors, and of course, the serial killer himself.

 

The Grabber’s creepy masks are made up of several parts, each exposing different portions of his face and giving a variation in expressions. The mask was designed by makeup artist Tom Savini. Ethan Hawke plays The Grabber in his first villain role (in stark contrast to the worried family man he plays in Sinister), and he does an admirably good job on portraying the crazy and unpredictable serial killer with his various facial expressions portrayed through the use of masks, body language and tone of voice. The Grabber is someone who obviously can’t be reasoned with, and while we do not really get to know all that much about him, that actually adds to the creep factor. And while the supernatural elements aren’t even remotely scary, they help powering up the direction of the story, working more as part of the suspense component rather than the horror. We root for the boy trapped in the creepy basement, and the ghosts who try to help him.

 

Overall, The Black Phone is a welcome horror comeback for Scott Derrickson. It’s not really a very unique or original movie, but it’s a solid and tense horror thriller that’s well worth a watch.

 

The Black Phone

 

Director: Scott Derrickson
Writers: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Country & year: USA, 2022
Actors: Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Davies, E. Roger Mitchell, Troy Rudeseal, James Ransone, Miguel Cazarez Mora, Rebecca Clarke, J. Gaven Wilde, Spencer Fitzgerald
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt7144666/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul