Having watched so many horror films in the past, it’s sad to say that sometimes even critically-acclaimed horror films don’t excite us anymore. We are not talking about horror films in general; we are talking about the highly-anticipated horror films that come with great disappointments. Sure, there are some great jump-scare scenes but that’s about it. The scares aren’t genuine enough and they don’t hold a lasting effect on us.

That’s not to say that all horror films are bad (we love the classics) because maybe the best horror films weren’t shown to us in the cinemas. Some of the best horror films we’ve watched come in a smaller packages as the filmmakers put all the best horror elements in a video under 30 minutes or less.

Ready to experience true horror in the shortest amount of time? Just watch the short horror films (with description provided) below:


1. Lights Out

Lights Out – Who’s There Film Challenge (2013) from David F. Sandberg on Vimeo.

It came as no surprise to us that director David F. Sandberg won the Best Director Award in the 2013 for the “Who’s There Film Challenge” with “Lights Out”. Why, you ask? Because the film is one of the reasons why we refuse to switch the lights off at night.

With its atmosphere build-up, the film caught us off guard in just less than 1 minute into the video. It goes on to show that perhaps living alone is not a great idea at all, especially when there’s an uninvited guest lurking in the shadows.

2. The Little Witch

At first glance, “The Little Witch” looks like a short film that is incredibly harmless and heartwarming. But don’t be fooled by its cover because the ending comes with a twist we never saw coming. In fact, you will never want to check what’s under the bed after watching the 2-minute short film.


Produced and directed by Alasdair McBroom, “The Little Witch” is the film adaptation of 2-sentence horror story from a Reddit user “justanothermuffledvo”. The film is closely paralleled to the award-winning short film, “Tuck Me In“.

3. The Smiling Man

Now, this is the short film that totally send chills down our spines. It’s just straight-up creepy because there’s no paranormal events going on in this film. It is based off a story from Reddit user blue_tidal, where he shares his strange encounter with a smiling man during his late night stroll.

According to blue_tidal, he never went out for another walk because the man’s smiling face had haunted him since that night.


Imagine this: You were sleeping in your room when your sister wakes you up to tell you that your mother is back. Back from where, we don’t know. But when you run downstairs to meet your mother, there’s no one at the hallway but “something else” comes out to greet you instead.

Sounds familiar to you? Well, that’s because the story is similar to one of the classic 2-sentence short stories, “Mother’s Call“. It is not known where the story originated from, but Andrés Muschietti’s short film Mamá later inspired the Spanish director Guillermo del Toro to create a feature length version of “Mama”.

5. Red Balloon

Don’t you just hate it when you know that there’s something lurking in a house but the characters in the film don’t seem to realise it at all until the very last minute? “Red Balloon” is a mix of “Lights Out” and “The Little Witch” as the story revolves around a babysitter Julie and the child she is taking care of, Dorothy.

The 13-minute thriller short film has an amazing build-up that literally had us sitting at the edge of our seats. Directed by by Alexis Wajsbrot and Damien Mace, the short film was nominated for several prestigious awards and won the Directorial Discovery Award at Rhodes Island Horror film Festival.

6. The Cat with Hands

And here we are thinking that “the cat with hands” is just a metaphor or an idiom. But the short film literally consists of a cat with hands. British director Robert Morgan created the stop-animation film with a story that is crafted in the “fairy tale” nature. The film is said to inspired by a nightmare Morgan’s sister used to have when she was young.

Describing the plot to you will ruin the story so we won’t spoil you with any further details. Be warned though, we find it a little gory to watch.

7. Bedfellows

“Bedfellows” has one of those cliche horror film scenes, where the main character receives a phone call in the middle of the night. However, it is the twist at the end that turns it into one of those horror short films that we can’t seem to forget! We must say, we completely lose it at 1:15 mark. It is no wonder that the scene has been taken out and transformed into a popular horror gif on Tumblr.

Directed by Drew Daywalt, “Bedfellows” is just one of the short horror films he created and submitted to Fewdio, a small studio that specialises in the horror genre. From his Twitter bio, it came as a surprise to us that the director is a children book’s author too. Although Drew relies on jump-scares a lot, his shorts are mostly original short films that is filed with suspense and horror.

8. Peekers

“Peekers” is one of those creepy short films without any gore elements or paranormal events. The great thing about “Peekers” is that you won’t feel disgusted and you won’t be sitting at the edge of your seats for something to scare the life out of you. It just wants to spook you at the right location and at the right time.

Based on a short story by Irish novelist Kealan Patrick Burket, “Peekers” is a low-budget horror film developed by Lionsgate and directed by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard. It is described as a mix of “Silent Hill” and “The Purge”, but it takes stalking to a whole new level. Similar to “The Smiling Man”, the film involves a creepy, smiling man too.

So, what do you think of the list? Not satisfied from you’ve watched? Share with us some of the creepiest short films you’ve ever watched in the comments box below because we are so ready to watch them for Halloween!

Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out some of our other movie lists too:

(Source: 1, 2)

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Adrina was our former writer and now contributes to Hype. Find out what she's up to on her IG: @moonsglowslow.