Short: “Lights Out (Short 2013)”

Short films can introduce you to various creative minds, who must show they know how to keep things in absolute control. Some short films can even go so far as to lead to bigger and better things. It’s rare, but a well made short film can even lead to a well received and hopefully well made feature film.

The short film “Lights Out”, is a fine example in how to compose fear in a very tight and controlled manner.

This short stars Lottta Losten (“The Party That One Night (Short 2016)”, “Lights Out”).

The film was written and directed by David F. Sandberg (“Lights Out”, “Closet Space (Short 2016)”).

It debuted first in Sweden on Dec. 30, 2013 before showing at a few festivals throughout 2014.

I can’t believe this was a short film first! I didn’t know that! I thought the feature film was wholly and completely an original film, which, I guess it largely is. This film showed what a full length film could achieve and I’m so glad it exists. This is what I love sometimes about film, discovering something else, or discovering how capable a single writer or director is. In this case, I’m thinking of Jennifer Kent, who wrote and directed “The Babadook”, which was based on the short film “Monster” also written and directed by Kent. With “Monster”, you could clearly see just how capable she was at balancing drama and horror, which she ultimately carried over to the feature film. In such a short amount of time, she gave you so much.

Which is exactly what Sandberg did here. While there’s no time, not even a little, as this is less than three minutes, to include anything dramatic, it excels at something that’s difficult to do even in short films. I’ve seen a few horror shorts, (truly not many), and only a select few have scared me. This, is now one of them.

I wrote, “WOW! Terrifying!” In so many ways, the so few minutes, it was. It’s all about execution. I found it to be perfect. Not a moment was wasted and I was immediately afraid. It didn’t take much, and it held me there the entire time. I was actually afraid something was going to pop up or just appear behind Losten, but it never did. That’s another one of this film’s great tricks. It’s all about perception and fear. You look over there, you look in that direction, and is there something there? Maybe, maybe not. It’s just your mind. And then it isn’t! If this short film can have me on edge for a few minutes, it truly makes me wonder what can be done with 90 minutes, or however long the feature film actually is.

I guess it might also speak more to who I am, as this is playing on a shared fear we all have at some point in our lives. The darkness can be frightening and we never know what may or may not be hiding within it. Even if we know full well there’s nothing but doors and hallways, that that dark room only contains a table and some chairs, it doesn’t take much for our minds to take control and concoct the most frightening thing imaginable. I recently watched “The Descent”, and that film is right about the dark, albeit in a different context, but the dark plays tricks on us.

Fun little tidbit, and I’m guessing a bit, but I think the fonts for this short and the feature film’s title are the same. The coloring may be different, but I immediately got excited when the title came on, as the font at least looks close to the same. It somehow just made me even more excited to see this short. Some things just can’t be explained.

I don’t think there’s been a horror short film, or any short, that hasn’t shown me how much these artists care about what they do. They know their craft and are clearly passionate enough. This film, is by far the shortest film I’ve seen, but shows what’s possible with a simple premise and a writer who knows how not to add too much. If this is what it takes for good horror to exist in the entertainment industry, then I’ll take it. At least this way I’ll automatically know that I’ll be getting something top notch.

Seriously, check out the film!

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