Scary short films on Youtube: 4 shorts to watch for free

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Spooky season may be months and months away, but at New 32, we love horror all year round. We’ve published plenty of articles about our favorite freaky feature films, but today let’s give a little love to the short films we’re equally obsessed with. I’ve compiled a list of our five favorite scary short films on Youtube.

Portrait of God

If you know anything about New 32, you already know we love Dylan Clark. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with him on our upcoming horror short Catcher. What you might not know is that the way we got connected with him is that we saw his work on Youtube and loved it. He has a lot of great shorts on his channel, and I recommend that you check them all out, but what really caught our attention was Portrait of God.

If I had to pick one word to describe the specific scares in Portrait of God, I would say it’s haunting. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but I will say that this film takes a very simple premise–a devout young woman practices for a presentation about a piece of art–and makes it something that will haunt your nightmares. I still think about The Figure on a regular basis, and it’s been over a year since I first watched the movie. Dylan has a special talent for capturing incredible images in a way that’s simple, effective, and oh so scary. This film is one of my favorite scary short films on Youtube, maybe ever. 

What makes it extra cool is that Dylan also made a behind the scenes video documenting the making of this film, so you can see all the movie magic that went into it. If you’re a horror lover, you simply have to check it out.

The Other Side of the Box

If you watch a lot of scary short films on Youtube, I assume you’ve already heard of The Other Side of the Box, but truly, no list would be complete without it. This film is around 15 minutes long and was distributed by Alter. In the film, a man is enjoying a romantic evening with his girlfriend when an estranged friend appears and gives him a box. He accepts it as a gift and opens it, only to find something horrific is trying to get out.

If you like creepy, well-executed horror, unanswered questions, It Follows, and/or the weeping angels from Dr. Who, this short film is perfect for you. I don’t want to give too much away, but this film left me thinking about the ending for days, and I certainly don’t think about a lot of things, like stairwells, darkness, or unexpected gifts the same way anymore. I truly don’t want to say too much about the content of the film, but what I DO want to say is I watched this movie years ago and it still comes to mind on a regular basis.

Odd Girl

One of our favorite scary short films on Youtube is Odd Girl. I was lucky enough to interview Vancouver based filmmaker Rami Kahlon in 2023 when she was fundraising for her upcoming Christmas horror short, A Christmas Star. Odd Girl was picked up by Alter after finding success in the festival circuit, which is a strong indicator of the movie’s quality. The story behind the making of Odd Girl is very cool, and I was inspired by Rami’s ability to make a great horror flick on a shoestring budget without it ever feeling cheap.

Odd Girl takes a classic narrative and turns it on its head. So often in media we’re used to seeing the popular kids as villains or bullies, while the loners and losers take the moral high ground. This captivating horror short takes that trope and skillfully subverts it, telling a story in which a popular girl’s attempts to be kind to a painfully awkward “odd girl” go horribly, tragically wrong. One of the top comments on this film is that “this is such a refreshing take on the high school horror trope.” 

Rami does not rely on tricks like jump scares or buckets of blood and guts to create cheap scares; rather, she uses nuanced screenwriting, scoring, and more to build tension from the first moment until the brutal end. This is a great short film if you like more quiet, subtle horror filmmaking, and want to watch a movie that will get you thinking. My personal favorite comment in the comment section is “am I the only one who deeply regrets watching this late in the evening… alone… in an old, creaky house?!” No, fellow horror lover. You are not the only one with regrets.

Piggy

If you’re a horror lover, odds are you’ve heard of Carlota Pereda’s independent feature film Piggy, but did you know it was once a short film of the same name, and that you can watch it for free on Youtube? In this breathtaking short film, Sara, a fat teenager, is trying to enjoy a swim when she’s harassed and assaulted by a trio of teenage girls, who call her “Piggy.” As with the other scary short films on Youtube, I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll say as little as possible. The vibe of this horror short is less scary and more disturbing. I will be thinking about the assault at the pool for a long, long time. The ending is equal parts disturbing and cathartic. It’s certainly a film that leaves you thinking about body discrimination, the all too real issue of fatphobia, and the retribution at the end will be on my mind for a long time as well. 

The acting is amazing, the cinematography is gorgeous, and it’s a film that will be on my mind for a long, long time, but not for the typical horror movie reasons. It’s a film with a lot to say about the world, and it’s impeccably made. Definitely check out Piggy today. 

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Author

Molly is an author, screenwriter, blogger, and brand manager for New 32 Productions. They are passionate about sharing content that helps filmmakers live a more productive, informed, and well-balanced life. They live in North Carolina with their spouse and way too many dogs.

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