October 26, 2016

The Most Terrifying Horror Shorts You Can Watch Online Right Now

Don't watch these alone. 

From Fantastic Fest to Fantasia International Film Festival, horror shorts can have a good life on the festival circuit. But it's in the afterlife—going viral online—where horror filmmakers really get their due. Below, we've compiled a dozen of the scariest short films we could find streaming.

Lights Out 

In under three minutes, this unnerving film takes a simple premise—fear of the dark—and masterfully evokes primordial horror. Are you sure you aren't just imagining things? (Also, check out the director's other films, like Not So Fast, which was shot with an IKEA trash can.) Directed by David F. Sandberg

The Maiden 

A mansion is haunted by demonic spirits in this gripping short, featuring great cinematography to boot. Directed by Michael Chaves

The 3:07 AM Project

Timed to the release of The Conjuring, VICE tapped four of indie horror's top directors from around the world to create one-minute shorts. Inspired by the theme "3:07 AM," this short anthology features entirely different approaches to the genre: found footage, a nightmare-come-true, a one-shot slow burn jump-scare, and a creepy investigation of a shipwreck. Then, of course, there's this exchange: "Are we getting raped and murdered or something?" "No, of course we're not getting fucking raped and murdered!" Of course not. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Max Landis, Ti West, Jason Eisener


With nearly a half hour runtime, this is by far the longest short on our list, but it's also one of the best standalone films, regardless of genre. Shot in the picturesque Faroe Islands, this haunting film features stunning cinematography washed in muted purple-gray tones. Though it appropriates many horror tropes—it could be said that this is The Shining meets The Telltale Heart meets The Babadook—the ending is thoroughly original and twisted. Directed by Heidrik Heygum


Cinematic and exquisitely shot, this Slamdance and TIFF alum is high on atmosphere, though low on narrative. It's worth seeing if just for its precise and haunting imagery. Directed by Santiago Menghini


Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and wondered if the person sharing your bed was still there? At just two minutes, this short will make you never want to ask that question again. Directed by Drew Daywalt


When Guillermo del Toro saw this short, he said, "it was one of the scariest little scenes I've ever seen." In fact, he found it so scary that he commissioned a feature-length version from the director. Directed by Andres Muschietti

The Smiling Man #1

This disturbing short, about a young girl who is terrorized by a nightmarish intruder, was written by a well-known visual effects artist as an exercise in tension-building. Directed by AJ Briones

The Smiling Man #2

Because nothing is creeper than an inexplicably smiling man, here's another variation on the theme. Directed by Michael Evans


A man is contacted by his ex-girlfriend, who committed suicide after he dumped her, via Facebook message. What happens next preys upon our deepest 21st century fears. Directed by Andrés Borghi

Autumn Harvest

German filmmaker Fredrik S. Hana frequents genre festivals like Fantastic Fest with his gruesome but beautifully-shot shorts. Shot in poetic black-and-white, this one is the cryptic story of an isolated fisherman who makes a Faustian bargain. Directed by Fredrik S. Hana. 

The Cop Cam

When a police officer responds to a call at an abandoned house, he gets more than he bargained for. Directed by Isaac Rodriguez

The Captured Bird

That Guillermo del Toro Executive Produced this little gem is no surprise—it's got his fingerprints all over it. From a lonely child to beautifully rendered CGI creatures, this one might as well have presaged Pan's LabyrinthDirected by Jovanka Vuckovic


As zombie films are wont to be, this one is more entertaining than outright scary. But it does boast some impressive practical effects, including an undead kangaroo (because why not?). Directed by Ryan Coonan 


Your Comment


This list is so great! Unfortunately they are missing this Terrifying VR Show, The Game, which was just released today: https://www.jauntvr.com/title/e6a64293ee

October 26, 2016 at 7:57PM, Edited October 26, 7:57PM

rb Mace

The Game thing is really bad, I wouldn't bother!

October 30, 2016 at 7:32PM


Mine's pretty scary. If you like it, I'd love it if you would add it to the list!


October 27, 2016 at 3:37PM, Edited October 27, 3:37PM


Here are a couple more y'all might find delightfully horrifying.
Sweet Tooth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SykaFNjN-sE
Shutter [SHUDDER] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2STxwnsAX28

October 28, 2016 at 2:53PM, Edited October 28, 2:53PM

Michael Muchnij

Great little shorts, both very well crafted, Sweet Tooth in particular really packs a punch!

October 30, 2016 at 7:36PM


They're all nice, but if these are the scariest available, there's a lot of room for scarier.

October 29, 2016 at 6:21PM, Edited October 29, 6:21PM

Robert Bryant
Writer, Editor, Sound Designer

Some great films, but here's a brilliantly clever film:

NightmARes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_2z1HR-ET4


October 30, 2016 at 4:36PM, Edited October 30, 4:36PM


I usually stream through vpn because it gives me facilitation to connect my location from anywhere.
Additional benefit for us is some vpn providers posted a halloween discount offer to all users, you can get 77% off which is now $2.50/month. It's a limited time offer. You can avail Holloween Discount Offer .
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October 31, 2016 at 3:54AM, Edited October 31, 3:54AM


"Autumn Harvest" was particularly awful. He should have taken the rock hung around his neck in the first minute of the film, and thrown it into the sea, as planned.

March 8, 2017 at 12:30PM, Edited March 8, 12:30PM


These and more great horror shorts on this channel: http://vid.me/MSA2-ShortFilms

June 13, 2017 at 6:55PM, Edited June 13, 6:55PM


check out Neighbors: https://vimeo.com/110070716

of if you like your horror with some laughs, Occupy Elm Street: https://vimeo.com/144123602

October 16, 2017 at 12:52PM, Edited October 16, 12:52PM


This is my little contribution to this years creepfest:

October 17, 2017 at 2:08PM, Edited October 17, 2:08PM


December 15, 2017 at 11:35PM, Edited December 15, 11:35PM


Really great list! See lots of my favorites on here! Another short horror film that I really love and I think you would enjoy is the award-winning short film "Tuck Me In" directed by the brilliant Ignacio F. Rodó, which premiered in over 200 festivals, winning dozens of awards: https://www.shortcentral.tv/videocafe_post/tuck-me-in/

July 28, 2018 at 2:03AM, Edited July 28, 2:03AM