Dir. David Duke (2022)
A man is terrorized by a killer clown.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Some shorts are too short, and they don’t allow for the proper plot development that enables a film to be successful. Not so with Night Terror, which its only three minutes long but still somehow ends up being terrifying. Shot and optimized for mobile phone viewing, it’s meant to be viewed on a platform like YouTube and has audio that was tracked specifically for your headphones. In a world where everyone seems to want to be bigger and better, the simplified format that is used in Night Terror is something special and unique that we don’t see very often.
Shooting things on your phone is all the rage, and we’ve even had a feature-length film made by an A-list Hollywood director that was shot entirely on an iPhone (Unsane by Steven Soderbergh). By capitalizing on this trend, director David Duke manages to show us a truly terrifying scene of our worst nightmare. Who among us hasn’t been alone at home, thinking that every little noise we hear is some horrific clown with a knife that’s ready to climb up the stairs after us as we retreat to the safety of our beds? What happens if there’s actually something there? Wonder no longer, dear friends, because this short will dispel any questions that you may have.
Look, clowns are scary. There has been much legitimate research into why that is, whether it’s the off-ness of human features that regular clowns seem to have or the countless evil clown portrayals in our media. What I do know without researching any further, however, is that when you hand one of those fuckers a knife, the terror becomes real and tangible. Show them to me on my phone and you’ll have me looking over my shoulder for the rest of the night, which is exactly what Duke accomplishes in this short. It’s won a ton of awards from film festivals around the country, and I look forward to watching Retribution, the next short from Horrorsquad 666.
Who this movie is for: Short film lovers, Indie fanatics, People who live alone
Bottom line: It’s 3 minutes and well worth the time. I’m a huge fan of indie horror and short films in general, and while this one is certainly micro-micro-budget, containing only one actor playing both parts, and has an infinitesimally short runtime, where we’re going, we don’t need plot or character development. The main character is as scared as we are, and the unique shooting style allows for a uniquely scary experience.