Best Short Movies 2020

I didn’t get through as many short movies in 2020 as I would have liked.. There was a massive gap from March to about August where I was unable to spend as much time on the blog and unfortunately the shorts on a Sunday took back seat while I dealt with changes due to Covid19. On top of that I also managed to get banned from Youtube (for life) so in losing my account I lost my playlist and had to start over from scratch. But I feel quite proud for finding this impressive list of impressive movies..  I’d like to thank all the creators for their dedication and hard work, hope to see more of your work in 2021!

The Herd

A group of women are trapped in squalid conditions, impregnated and kept for their milk like cattle, just with cows, any males are thrown in the trash and discarded. During an escape we see a that a lot of women are being milked and killed like cattle. Not sure if the message is directed to make people think about cattle in different ways, we are all beings sharing this planet right. I know the Hucow fetish movement wouldn’t be able to digest this too well. It’s the most visceral in its approach on this list and rightly so, when you discover the reason for this violence and “inhumanity” it makes it all that much more poignant.

Salt

Wowzer Rob Savage really does have his hand on the horror pulse, I covered one of his shorts, Dawn of the Deaf earlier list, but this film really blew me away. It’s incredibly short, beautifully acted and incorporates some outstanding CGI, as a mother battles against the forces of evil to protect her daughter. Better than any exorcism of (insert name here) movie from the last few years. There’s tons of dynamic action and a lot of bravery in such a daunting story, I had to watch it twice..

Figurine

A darkly morbid tale that really got me nervous. A wealthy man passes away but the only way his loved ones will receive anything is to live with his stuffed body. A slightly unusual request, which the family reveal for all the obvious reasons. As time passes they all spend time with the stuff corpse of their ex patriarch and each have a heartfelt moment with a man who wasn’t in their lives when he was alive but insists on being there as a weird “rapey” looking wax figure.. very bizarre but a really interesting insight into grief.

Picture Day

It’s picture day and a young grunge kid has to appease her domineering and drunk mother who wants a certain type of cute and popular daughter. She’s all sorts of broken up over the one she actually has that doesn’t fit into her perfect pink world. While not living up to your parents dreams is a big part of growing up, their reactions to a young person’s uniqueness is a strong indication of a person’s true character.

A simple movie but it really does speak volumes in one dramatic act of rebellion. It’s shot like a music video with touches of retro nostalgia and edgy teen drama, a perfect combination as two women clash.

Genesis

Advertised as an Abstract Short Film, I couldn’t miss this gem..

What starts out as a simple mix of beautiful shots soon becomes a cycle and a story of innocents corrupted. From Writer, Director and Editor Ben Escobar we see this play out with the analogy of colours and tiny fish. Even without the narrative the actions of “God” are enough to capture the imagination, but with the context of how we are led to believe how Good and Evil work it’s really terrifying and yet still quite wonderful to watch.

Splinter

Curtis Matzke has a brilliant and daring way to tell a story. A doctor and woman stand in a hospital doorway, but the diagnosis sounds all wrong, the woman enters the room to talk with the dying patient and slowly through a heart to heart conversation the story of his death, after death starts to take shape.

A really brilliant bizarre take on an the older horror monster which really opened my eyes to so many more possibilities, I don’t’ really want to give away the

Nursery Rhymes

Why is there a young metal head singing a nursery rhyme while standing on the side of the road near a field? Tom Noakes film goes from surreal to unbelievable grief and horror in seconds as the reason is revealed. A wonderfully dark and tragic story told in one take it’s a powerful shift in reality and in only one camera turn.

Teeth

This is my kind of animation cleverly put together by Daniel Gray & Tom Brown, who tell a disturbing story about a young man recalling his dental history and how much he fetish for gums changed his life and mental health.

The animation itself isn’t the most sort after art for but it really suits this deranged story that really focuses on an usual taxidermy by the end of it’s path into darkness and strange addictions. this is one for the textbooks on strange animation and take me back to those Animation on 4 days. And if the animation and unique story aren’t enough then the gravely tones of Richard E Grant should be enough to warm those cockles.

Aotearoa

Beautiful camerawork throughout this documentary felt like a Maori man travelling along throughout New Zealand, daring to go somewhere new and meet different people. What looks to be a confrontation waiting to happen turns out to be a wonderful day making new friends.

It feels like a coming of age kind of movie as an old gang member breaks free from this gang to just try something new and seems to come back with a different view on the world, it’s true though, travelling and meeting new people really does widen your horizons.

Sterling heart felt movie from Bruno Isaac (I believe) in honour of what seems to be a dearly beloved friend who’s no longer with us. Probably the best short I’ve seen this year, originally from 2016.

Turned

This is one of those darkly upsetting horrors that I like the most. Something that crawls under the skin and isn’t very easy to process. A mother attempts to protect her son during a zombie outbreak but things so terribly wrong. the next paragraph will be spoiler heaven to check out the film before reading on.

Feeder

Thomas Simon, introduces a rather interesting mystery in this punchy short. A hunter is seen hiding a bear trap in the snow, the elderly man hears something approaching and blows his dog whistle while scoping the woods with some kind of infrared aide, like an old man Predator he packs up and heads into the nearest town for some supplies and noties a young couple seemingly out for a romp in the woods.

What seems as any man out getting bait for a hunt is incredibly different, Simon manages to meld “today” with tomorrow, the payment for the supplies seems to be via a chip in the wrist and the man obviously has some tech in his glasses. It’s all subtle and so refreshing not to see highly advanced tech forced down the throat, instead Simon just gets on with it, the focus of the movie is whatever is growling and craving blood in the back of the hunters truck.

Brilliant methodical and well shot movie, would I like to see this turn into a feature, heck I’d buy that for a dollar.

I found this set up to be perfect for the genre, the mother did everything right to help her son and say goodbye but what a terrible mishap.. Asking her son to hide she hoped to keep him safe after she turned, but he damn kid hid in the worst place. the magic worked as the mother was perceiving the best life ever hugging her beloved child, while in reality she was about to devour him…

This is definitely one of the best shorts I’ve seen in awhile i can see why Crypt snapped it up and Adam Bolt is a director to keep an eye out for.

Grief

It’s no secret what the movie is about but the elements within it remain powerful and esoteric as a couple begin to hit a wall when dealing with the grief of their missing son. Kevin and Esther’s so has been abducted, the couple are coping the best they can, Kevin is attending group classes while his wife is searching endlessly for their boy, however on one fateful night a stranger turns up at their exposed home in the night and turns their grief upside down as it’s revealed what caused the events.

For me I feel that the “man” who turns up is truth personified, how do you see it?

The violent and trippy exploration of grief is quite spot on in some aspects, as Esther goes through guilt and blame, normality and crashing back to the reality that her boy is still missing, feeling alone and on trial again and again. A really imaginative and thriller short with lots to take on board.

Jonah

A beautiful short by Kibwe Tavares starring Daniel Kaluuya who most will know from Get Out. In this tantalizing short he’s a street kid who accidentally discovers a giant fish while out trying to make his fortune with his best friend. A simple lucky shot on their camera with the amazing giant jumping fish cements his fame and fortune and his small town transforms form the increased tourism, turning his little fishing town into a Neo Africa.

The film follows the rise and fall of both man and town, as the fish had never been seen again, now aged our young hero, now along and long forgotten as the man who spotted the biggest catch, shuffled through the ruins he heads out to sea and that’s when the storytelling begins to overtake the dramatic visuals.

There’s a meld of time and success, love and regret all mixed into the ending, the fish seems to be more of a symbol than a fine catch, but I think it’s fluid enough to allow viewers to make up their own minds about what it represents for them.

Hangman

This supernatural horror is something special and I’d love to see more of it, alas I feel trying to add a detailed back story to this would ruin the fun but more of this would be great.

Hangman follows the dismal life of Evan, his life has hit rock bottom, his wife has left him and his dog doesn’t want to stay with him, but what’s worse is that the effects of his poor choices seems to be following him around in the guise of a hanging body that seems to appear when he leasts expects it.

Directed by Patryk Terelak and Rockwell White there’s a heavy bombing synth track that sets this in a nouvelle 70’s with chunky fonts and a relaxed lifestyle but VR and tech are in abundance. I love the combination which is seen in a lot of modern horrors like It Follows.

Patryk can often be found with the username Dirty Sloth, there are some videos here

House of Straw

A soothing classical overture softens the blow of this horrific short from Kyle Bogart. A couple struggle to contain a dark supernatural secret. As night falls they hurriedly make preparations to lock the “secret” away, however with all the best laid plans, some things can’t be locked away forever.

It’s a well written and perfectly executed short movie and Bogart has really shown so much ability to forge a compelling story and not fall into all those awful stereotypes that often exist before a movie of this horror subgenre. There’s an unusual dynamic between this couple, often passive aggressive and somewhat comical they seem to get on with a secret that binds and tears them apart. Watching all the pieces fall into place is like poetry.

Safe Haven

Martin Stalker has really outdone himself with his post apocalyptic horror centred around a young loving boy who’s left alone when his mother is called into work, it seems that there has been some sort of ash cloud which has started to make people sick, but when the full results of the disease rears its ugly head it’s almost too late for the young boy when his babysitter turns nasty.

Shot with a limited palette and piqued with a sentimental soundtrack it’s a heartbreaking horror with much emotion and clever camerawork, resulting in a sort of home made 28 days later atmosphere, that end of the world and we’re ready to fight but we’re extremely sad too vibe.

Eddie

A man single handedly keeps a underground secret facility while babysitting Eddie, a sort of Bud character, covered in wounds and blood the zombie like man wanders freely around the facility often frightening the man but as he’s totally harmless they listen to music together and he tries little experiments with him, making funny notes about him, apparently he’s not a dancer and has bad taste in music ha ha.

Daily he searches for new incoming messages but he finds nothing in his lonely and desperate situation he begins searching for answers rather than just playing caretaker…Directed by John Cool Lynch this is a bittersweet movie with perfect acting and blinding cinematography.

Mira Mira

This short is creepy as fuck, I really love the creature effects and it just works so much better than any CGi would. it touches on some of the work done in Yami Shibai, Evil Dead and a touch of Creepypasta. A girl gets duped into another world through a mirror by a malevolent entity, but the creature is perfectly odd and creepy in it’s jerky movements and evil demeanor, it’s a full on horror fuckfest.. definitely a highlight from directors, Ivan Sunguroff and Drew Bierut.

The Hidebehind – Alter

An injured hiker chances on a peculiar stranger in the forest, in Parker Finn’s creepy nature horror and is a prime example of when a film character can’t perceive an obvious danger!

But with some marvelous special effects this horror really comes to life and will make anyone fear what could be lurking behind any and every tree!!!

Angst Piss and Shit

A complicated and surreal love between two serial killers is played out in this experimental piece by Fredrik S. Hana. It sings a harmony between some of the older video nasties as this complex drama is played out in a Gonzo fashion, blended noise and electronic music accompanies a mix of colour and black and white art. Somewhere between the dire food, run down apartment and bags of blood and gore there’s a young couple with their beautiful lives ahead of them.. kinda? I love the psychedelic tune that accompanies the meal at the end.. who doesn’t like dinner and a show in a psychotronic fashion of course.

Landon Dies – Crypt TV Monster Universe

Landon is the key to everything in this horror adventure, fully created by… Landon Stahmer, who plays himself in the movie.. Landon starts his day with a bounce in his step, but as the music changes, so does Landon’s luck.

It seems Landon has a “entity” a giant sack cloth robed thing which stalks him in his house, creeping up behind him and killing him in different ‘orrible ways’ again and again and again.. But slowly Landon catches up with the audience’s view of the world around him and starts to tip the scales but can he ever escape?

It’s a delight to watch, well it’s delightful how much it creeped me out each time Landon woke up and attempted to get through his morning ritual, getting slaughtered time and time again, I literally felt my heart rate raise a few times.

Landon Stahmer has created one of the most effective monsters of the Crypt series yet, I’m still working out how this links in but it’s like the Jontur from The Ritual but wrapped up like a monk and with a more sadistic nature about how is despatches poor Landon. Once you get to the end and see the “even” bigger picture you’ll find a new level of despair which really did it for me.. this is in the top 10 short films of the year..

Filth

Adam Ciolfi’s stop motion black and white horror is the kind of film I’ve been missing for some time, after all we know how much I gush for the claymation.

So a man is gunned down in an alleyway but he doesn’t die, instead, while part of his memory is erased he goes after the men who tried to kill him, one by one he hunts them down, gaining a piece of a dark puzzle as he dispatches each nasty character.

A sort of dark punk noir thriller with lots of off key tones and a delightful set of characters who all fail at their death match. I love the crashing thrash/industrial feel to the film and soundtrack, matching the look and sound of a movie is key to getting the atmosphere right and it’s fairly unusual trend to work the monochrome so well is a pleasant game changer to an already pretty epic late night 90’s MTV-esque short.

I Only Kill the Pretty Ones

There are tons of overtones and homages to late night drive in TV and Grindhouse here in Dave K’s black and white mini masterpiece. a heavy synth retro stylized soundtrack, sly angles follow the night where Tallulah T. Tushingham, a popular film critic wants to jack in her job after being forced to to watch the same dismal horror tropes in every movie (I see so much of myself in her) but her agent asks her to watch just one more…

The movies she’s watching are cleverly done mini horrors each made by different peeps, but they share a nasty plaster feel which is epic, I love the leading lady who plays a scathing critique, akin to the wonderful art critic that Christopher Lee played in Dr Terror’s House of Horrors, only she doesn’t have as much time to regret her words as he did!

Clever little horror film all filmed on a Samsung but with tons of imagination and sly talent, I am indeed inspired and with the prompt at the end I guess I will try and make my own, and you should too.

Check ou the creators twitter feed here https://twitter.com/AFiendOnFilm

VW

I’m sure I had reviewed this exciting short by Joe Price before but alas I couldn’t find it, I know I’ve definitely watched it a few times now, so just to make sure it’s on my blog as I love it so much, here’s VW!

A pair of brothers are travelling to their parents funeral, the coupe of mismatched misfits argue their way across country to their AirBnB which is unfortunately harboring a group of violent robbers..

What starts as a really interesting drama melts down as the night falls. I really adore the characters and set up of this wonderfully written short movie, it has great effects and it’s playful comedy elements that match up with the gratuitous violence, one not to be missed.

Welcome to the Horror Show

Well we all know how much I love men in masks!! Instant Fan Girl moment *faints* I love the set up, it looks like a Robert Kurtzman, a touch of Tales from the Crypt with some Sideshow mystery, and he built this for us *faints again* This wonderful channel has really gone above and beyond to offer a range of horrors from films to campfire tales, so it’s worth popping by to check out what’s new. Here’s a starter for 10! And don’t forget to keep up to date with the twitter feed here https://twitter.com/Yourhorrorshow

Ping

Ep 01

The Stomach

Really attracted to the mood of this film and it breathes life into the phrase Supernatural Noir! Oh it gives me those good chills. A medium dedicates his entire body to his work, in his first encounter he wears the shoes of a dead man and the dead rise up in his stomach like a giant cyst and talk through his esophagus. This isn’t a life worth living and the medium soon tires to escape his torture.

There’s something very carnal about having this man use his body like a fucking human telephone, belly extended and piece of drain pipe stuffed into his throat to people can talk in and out of him, does anyone remember that episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog with the gypsy?

The movie is as gripping as any top London gangster film but with the added bonus of the exorcist. The cool tonal palette add to the coldness of the cruelty of the movie that turns from noir to full on Cronenberg body horror, maybe the new flesh has arrived with Ben Steiner’s future projects.

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