What is Paranormal:
The easy answer is anything that is not scientifically explained is considered paranormal. The more difficult explanation is that most paranormal content pertains to ghosts, spirits, and apparitions. These "apparitions" are most commonly found to be the result of psychological disorders or a strange combination of variables.
I reached out on Twitter looking for some interaction that would be the paranormal prompt in this post. From there I went to YouTube and simply searched "paranormal short films". I watched about twenty-five videos from various creators, some of these videos had a couple of thousand views, and others had millions. Either way, I judged each video in six categories.
Acting: is the performance believable?
Music/Sound: are the sound effects building emotion correctly? What kind of music makes a moment flourish?
Cinematography: what kind of shots catch my attention? Is the film found footage?
Plot: how does the story stay compelling? What is being done correctly to make the characters empathetic?
Effects: does the makeup look professional? Are there filters or CGI being used?
Is it scary? This is a yes or no question. I let the power of the scare mean everything.
The Manor 4/5
Runtime: 13 minutes 45 seconds
The Manor is a short film by the director Blake Ridder, and it seems that he has been building a universe all his own that is comprised of short films. I have yet to look into the others but with how good The Manor is I can imagine that he has a knack for what he does. The Manor is about four friends who come upon a manor which they hope to shoot a horror film of their own. Once the friends step foot into the manor time ceases to work the way it is expected and a mysterious force is working to keep the characters separate. The plot and acting are what make this film special. The cinematography is also at a standard that is more than average. Most of the shots are ominous and leaves you dreading what's around the corner. It moves just a tad slow, and the music and sound pick up here and there giving you ques like a Conjuring movie. The simple way to make a good film is to have a good story, and this does that perfectly.
Runtime: 7 minutes 37 seconds
The team behind Wicken is based in Dubai and has films that span many genres. This film opens with our protagonist who can be found speaking to her boyfriend who seems to be quite melancholy. As the film goes on it plays out like It Follows, but done uniquely by harkening back to folklore. This film feels familiar but that doesn't subtract from the creep factor. I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of this one and the way that the protagonist is led to believe in this hidden mythology that is Wicken. We can catch glimpses of something in the curtains terrorizing both characters until it finds its next victim. The scares are subtle but heavy, and the protagonist truly makes you feel her hesitation. The most exciting thing that happens with the cinematography is the way that we witness Wicken moving just beyond the actors and how the cameras pan with her. The film could use some dynamic shots, but it is still a great watch.
Close Your Eyes 4/5
Runtime: 3 minutes 45 seconds
Another California-based studio under the guise of Locust Garden. The writer and director behind this piece are Andy Chen who seems to have his hands in a lot of what this studio produces. I enjoyed this one for how short it is, and the cast is so minimal. The premise is a simple haunting done in a way completely different from what I have seen before. The first roommate claims to hear knocking on an open apartment door, and as the other man becomes paranoid something enters the home. What follows are quick shots that expose a gruesome-looking entity that fulfills the scare factor better than many blockbuster films do. The make-up and practical effects are great, and the lighting accentuates that. I marked this one lower than I think I should have. Its simplicity shines.
Ignore It 4.2/5
Runtime: 6 minutes 33 seconds
The writer and director of this short film is Sam Evenson, who's usually known for his visual effects in shows like Fox's Legion (one of my all-time favorites). There's two notable shots in this. One is of a decrepit hand and another is when the antagonist creeps across the room only to be seen in a reflection; both effects are done brilliantly. The gist of this story is that there is a dark presence in the room during dinner. The family is meant to ignore it no matter what, but once the phone rings, mistakes are made. I'm led to believe that this is a metaphor for loss, and depression and I like the way it plays out. Time is not wasted in this short film. We are able to get all of the details as efficiently as possible. The acting is superb. We could have used some interesting dialogue or stylish cinematography to bring this film to a perfect 5.
The Ballerina 4.5/5
Runtime: 7 minutes 46 seconds
Social House Films is the California-based studio that brought us The Ballerina, our highest-scoring film here. I searched around and tried to find out more about this independent studio but didn't find much. Their website urges you to gain VIP status but doesn't tell you how, so the only content to be found is a page that says the name of their studio. This film does so much correctly, and I'd like to start with the very gifted actress's performance. I don't know if this form of ballet is all her doing, but it contrasts against what it is to be a ballerina. The music playing throughout is classical and leaves the viewer yearning for a performance, and that is what we get. Just go watch it, and try not to wince. There's a making-of that I will be checking out soon!
Runtime 9 minutes 56 seconds
Some fun with found footage.
Runtime: 9 minutes 32 seconds
What happens when you're a peeping tom.
Sleeping Sounds 3.7/5
Runtime: 3 minutes 33 seconds
Technology and scares.
Thanks, loyal readers.