5 Scariest Short Films on Youtube
You don’t have to wait for Halloween for your next horror fix. If you just want to scare yourself with a bunch of quick short films done by indie creators, Youtube is a treasure trove. Note that these are shorts in the truest sense of the word – they skip length exposition and usually just go straight to setup and pay-off (or jumpscare, if the story relies on one.)
All of the films below are done on a budget, but don’t take that to mean as an indication of quality. The creators have all made effective use of what little they have, and most of these have enough visual flair to work as a full-fledged feature film.
#5. The Cabin
The Cabin makes effective use of narration, scoring, and illustration to convey a bleak story of a hiker lost in the woods, who had no choice but to room up in an abandoned single-room cabin. During his stay at the cabin, he notices three portraits hung on the far wall, each one featuring a person with a creepy, evil expression on its face. The portraits unnerved him so he avoided staring and just went back to sleep. When he wakes up in the morning, he discovers something chilling about the things he thought were portraits.
#4. Tuck Me In
Redditors might be familiar with the story of Tuck Me In, as it is based on a popular horror yarn submitted in a thread where people told scary stories in two sentences. The story of Tuck Me In was credited to Juan R. Ruiz, in which a dad looks under his son’s bed to assure him that there is no such thing as a monster under his bed. What he finds under the bed will make you question whether there’s really a monster and if ever there is, it makes you wonder which one it is.
#3. Night Watchmen
While it’s only a minute long, Brandon Christensen’s Night Watchmen provides ample suspense and just the right amount of detail to make you understand why you’re getting goosebumps towards the end. The story follows the protagonist - a police officer who is trying to find his partner, who has gone silent while looking for someone. He soon finds his partner’s abandoned vehicle and the partner himself on the other side of a barbed razor wire fence, injured. What’s surprising is that the partner seems to have injured himself while climbing through the razor wire fence. What scared the partner so much that he was willing to get his flesh cut on razor wire? The protagonist is about to find out.
#2. Lights Out
This one might be familiar to you, because it’s already been passed around all over the Internet, and has attracted the right kind of attention in the sense that it’s now getting a feature film adaptation.
Lights Out has a fairly simple premise – an anonymous woman is getting ready for sleep and turning off the lights in the hallway. When she looks behind her, she sees what looks like a person’s silhouette. She repeatedly turns the lights on and off again, but the silhouette either disappears or gets nearer. What happens next will seriously prevent you from closing the lights during your sleep for a few nights.
#1 Lot 254
Out of all the shorts in this list, Lot 254 has the most potential. It works as a stand alone, but you can also see how it could be turned into a feature-length film. It follows a camera collector who is fine-tuning a second-hand 8mm camera that he has recently purchased. He finds that it isn’t working correctly because a miniature crucifix has been embedded inside. He takes out the crucifix and it starts to work again. He soon realizes that the small crucifix was put there for a reason – when he looks through the eyepiece, he gets a glimpse of a strange pale being in the same room. He feels its presence, and he soon discovers that it’s not the kind of creature that shows gratitude for being freed.
The limited scope of this short ultimately works to its advantage, because the creators were able to produce something that's sleek and visually arresting without spending anything on special effects - the lighting, the cramped spaces, and the actor does the work of putting some scares into you.