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.

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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.

More Videos Like This

  • The ultra-informative making-of video for Shadowed, in case any of you want to grab a camera and get cracking on your own domestic horror show and want to know everything there is to know about shooting in the dark on a budget.
  • The original Lights Out short film, which Sandberg and Losten created in 2013 before turning it into a feature three years later. Sandberg recognizes Lights Out as a spiritual successor to Shadowed.
  • Sandberg talks about the making of Lights Out (the feature film) and how his skillset making no-budget films came in handy on a studio picture.
  • Closet Space, another short horror film collaboration between Sandberg and Losten, deals with a closet that replicates whatever’s in it when closed. This one features Sandberg himself and crams a whole lot into 3 minutes. A personal favorite!
Meg Shields: Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.