Short Horror Film: The Nightmare
Embedded above is a nicely done and genuinely creepy horror short film by filmmaker Joseph Christiana called The Nightmare. It’s shot in a very nice B&W and features a young boy first being pursued by … Well, actually I don’t want to give any descriptions about this one, but after a simple opening, I found myself quickly engrossed and spooked. Watch it first, then read below to see if you agree.
Christiana takes a couple generic horror standards and an easy “target” to generate suspense, i.e. a child in peril, but keeps the largely wordless story moving along at a nice clip to get the audience quickly hooked. Shooting in B&W gives the film an eerie, otherworldly feel so that when the scenes shift abruptly, it’s easy to go along for the ride.
The perspective also changes quite frequently, easily shifting from taking the victim’s perspective to put the audience into his young, terrified shoes to showing us his reactions to the horrible visions he must face. For a virtually wordless film, Christiana does a great job getting audience to identify with the main character and allows us to reflect on our own fears that we all faced in childhood.
There’s also lots of other nice things working strongly in the film’s favor, from the the spooky, almost background-noise-like soundtrack to the really creative ending. The film’s only about six minutes long, but Christiana packs a good amount of terror into it and manages that short time wisely by making every shot really count.
For more about Christiana, please visit his official website.
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This was one of the gems from last year’s Spooky Movie Film Festival – one of my favorites! Joseph and his son (the star of the film) came down to DC for the screening, which was a lot of fun. I’m very proud that it is getting more and more attention, because it’s just such an effective example of a low budget but well made short that threads the needle perfectly between art and suspense.
Actually, I specifically started watching this last night because I saw that it screened at Spooky Movie, which always has such great taste. Figured I couldn’t go wrong watching.