Features and Columns

How to Make a Short Horror Film from the Comfort of Your Own Home

‘Shazam!’ director David F. Sandberg is stuck in his house. So he made a short film about how terrifying houses can be.
By  · Published on April 7th, 2020

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Stuck inside? Time to make a three-minute horror short with your wife!

Shadowed is the latest from Shazam! director David F. Sandberg, who, armed with no budget and plenty of time, has delivered a terrifying tale about one of the horror genre’s greatest sources of spooks: shadows. Using practical lighting, dark corridors, and hasty glimpses, our heroine (Lotta Losten) awakes to find the light is playing tricks on her. And some of those tricks may be deadly. With limited resources and a single location, Sandberg has thrown down the gauntlet, as far as self-isolation-spawned horror content is concerned.

Like most of Sandberg’s horror shorts (more on that later) Shadowed is suspense-driven and high concept, best played in the dark with your headphones turned up. But why risk turning one’s home into a house of horrors? Every shadow: an enemy! Every corner: a threat! Well, we have to keep things interesting somehow, folks. Dive in, I say! Our current situation has, in a way, democratized filmmaking for the time being. (Hell, Lars Von Trier is probably dusting off his Dogme letterman jacket, slowly stitching a “20” over the “95,” humming the Tristan und Isolde prelude…we assume.) So go out there and turn your house into a haunted one.

You can watch Shadowed here:

Who made this?

David F. Sandberg is stuck at home and has found something to occupy his time. In his case: making a no-budget horror film in his own house, starring his wife and frequent collaborator Lotta Losten (Lights OutAnnabelle: Creation). In fact, Sandberg has been making short horror films in his house, with his family, for many (6+) years now. This ain’t his first “let’s make a movie in our house” rodeo, and it shows; Shadowed is economic, effective, and better produced than most quarantine quontent (sorry). Sandberg released Shadowed via his Twitter.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).