To answer the question burning inside you—yes, I find it hard to watch a full-length movie over a 30-minute lunch break. Oh, that wasn’t your question? Well, it was mine—until a few years ago, when I watched my first horror short while having lunch at my beach resort job.
“But, Zena…you worked at a freakin’ beach! Why not just go to the beach?“
First, don’t ever yell at me again. Second, I love horror more than I love the beach. So, when I finally tried a short horror film for my break (on the beach), I was in heaven. Since then, these pretty brown eyes have seen some memorable short stories from some truly talented filmmakers. And since I’m writing this in a giving mood, I’ll share four horrors that I think you should check out.
Written and directed by Lars Klevberg, Polaroid opens to two girls, Sarah and Linda, who are moving from Sarah’s house after her mother passed away. In the process of stacking boxes under this shadowy night, they find an old polaroid camera. Unfortunately, one snap releases something beyond a harmless picture.
This Norwegian horror short featured brilliant camerawork, first-rate sound design, and notable acting. Special effects and masterful lighting lead to this sinister ending that will instantly conjure a re-watch.
A Death Story Called Girl
A Death Story Called Girl is the directorial debut of Bas-Tzion Beahan. Shot in Calabasas, CA, the film stars Livvy Bennet as Bambi, a beautiful, almost-angelic girl who we initially believe to be the victim of forthcoming torture. This belief changes when we witness her going psycho with a knife and some broccoli. From there, we fear for others as she peddles her bicycle through a peaceful neighborhood, where she is easily disregarded as a threat.
A Death Story Called Girl accomplishes two things: it remains imprinted in my mind, and it sparks debates among people I show. In these ways, it has a power that few shorts have.
In 2017, award-winning director Rob Savage brought us the horror short Salt. This two-minute film opens to a mother and her sick daughter in a bed encircled by salt. When the daughter begins to cough unceasingly, the mother rushes from the room, every few paces surrounding herself with salt. We discover that these white circles protect her from a menacing creature, determined to kill her and her daughter.
This film shocks instantly. I love that it plunges you into its intensity. It demands your distress for the mother and daughter. Immediately, you realize the salt’s power to keep you alive and recognize how certain situations (like a fan blowing) could jeopardize that protection.
Written and directed by Craig D. Foster, Overtime introduces us to Ralph, a diligent, efficient employee at his office. Much like many of us, Ralph finds himself in a never-ending cycle of tasks thrown at him from bosses and co-workers. Typically, the desire is to go home and be alone for the evening. But for Ralph, going home is a matter of life or death.
This is a horror comedy that I instantly relaxed into. The finale is wonderful, and you enjoy Ralph’s roadblocks even more once you realize what they all lead up to.
These films are just a few of many I enjoy during my lunch breaks. I will be on the prowl for more online shorts, which I hope to share soon. Also, I suggest watching these films with a co-worker or friend. It gets you one step closer to feeling like you are at home on your couch. Trust me. It works wonders.