14 Short Horror Movies on YouTube (2023)

It is common for short horror films to be scarier than features. Why? There’s limited time to explain what is going on. The audience is simply dropped into a scene and asked to be intelligent enough to keep up. Rarely is the story explained and shorts often end immediately after the film’s climax. There’s no time to decompress and be spoon-fed answers as our hero/heroine recovers in the hospital, we have to do that work on our own.

Short films are also super important to the horror genre because they give a platform to directors who don’t have access to the hundreds of thousands (or more realistically, millions) of dollars it takes to make a movie. This means more women and people of color as well as people who grew up poor and without family connections have an opportunity to get their art made and seen by audiences. This might not seem like a big deal until you zoom out and realize almost all our storytelling is based on a wealthy, white male understanding of reality. In the 867-page overview Horror Film Directors 1931-1990, for instance, there is only one woman listed in the entire exhaustive tome. While there were more women directors during that time period (because minority populations face a two-pronged problem of both struggling to get in the door and then having their achievements erased once they do), this means that almost every horror movie we go to reinforces ideas about the way the world works based on the experience of wealthy white men. We need to marry this perspective with those from other groups of people so that we have a complete understanding of the quality of life in our communities.

Sometimes these stories are told through more commercial work like music videos or even literal ad campaigns when the artist can get away with it. In the horror genre the most famous example is the Michael Jackson “Thriller” video directed by John Landis. More recently, Teyana Taylor directed a horror themed video for Megan Thee Stallion titled “Hottieween”. For traditional short films, many directors have made their shorts available on YouTube for free. Some of them are only a few minutes long while others will fill up your lunch break. You can watch one at a time or host a film festival in your living room. Here are the best short horror movies that are currently free on YouTube:

Backstroke (2019)

A pair of teen lovers run away from home and steal a car. On the way to Florida, they stop on a rural road and the woman decides to take a swim in an isolated pond. When she surfaces, her boyfriend is nowhere to be seen but a strange man on the shore taunts her while she treads water.

The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie (2016)

Two preppy siblings prepare for a New Year’s party in 1985. While they await their friends, the “inner circle”, a masked intruder murders them. This is a fun, weird, bloody homage to 80s slasher films.

(Video) See You Soon - 14 second horror film

Little VVomen 2019

A comedic retelling of the classic Little Women story (and especially Greta Gerwig’s recent Academy Award nominated adaptation). Unbeknownst to Laurie, the little women in this adaptation are witches (or, VVitches as a nod to the Robert Eggers film). Beth still dies (probably) but the girls get to do more than worry about who they will marry!

My house walk-through (2016)

Directed by PiroPito, this is an excellent example of how you can build up to sheer terror in just 12-minutes. The premise here is that “this is not a horror video.” The unidentified narrator promises the audience that they just woke up and felt like filming a house tour, but as the walk through goes on, the house begins to feel like a labyrinth of horrors. You will never want to see a fusuma sliding door opened again.

Opal (2020)

Created with Adult Swim, Jack Stauber wrote and directed this 12-minute semi-animated surrealist psychological horror musical. The title character is a little girl who hears cries coming from the house across the street, which she is forbidden to enter. Without giving too much away, the short is currently the sixth highest rated horror film on Letterboxd with a rating of 4.3.

Reality+ (2018)

Directed by Coralie Fargeat, Reality+ is basically a 22-minute Black Mirror episode that answers the question “What if everyone could just buy a device that made them appear hot to others?” Fargeat went on to make the indie feminist rape-revenge thriller Revenge in 2017. She is now working on her first studio film: a body horror titled The Substance starring Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley.

Teaching Jake about the Camcorder, Jan ’97 (2021)

You may have to watch this 10-minute film more than once to understand what’s going on. Created by Brian David Gilbert and Karen Han, this short layers several recordings on top of each other in the style of old VHS camcorders. Each new recording seems to reveal something new about what the man on screen hopes to communicate to his son in the future. Another incredible short by Brian David Gilbert is the 6-minute “Earn $20K EVERY MONTH by being your own boss“.

(Video) Lights Out - Who's There Film Challenge (2013)

Skintight (2018)

If you liked Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017), you’ll love Ciara Boniface’s 15-minute short about a black woman in small town Texas. Even though she moved to get away from her problems, everyone in our protagonist’s new town seems to belong to the same cult and they all treat her like crap. She thinks she is being stalked, and unfortunately the truth is much more horrifying. At 19 years old Ciara Boniface was given $100,000 to make this film after being handpicked by director Ava DuVernay in a contest held by Disney. She also won a car, a laptop and a trip to Los Angeles to meet DuVernay to discuss filmmaking. Boniface is now 23 and has now written and directed 16 films.

This House Has People in It (2016)

A stereotypical suburban family is preparing for a children’s birthday party when their teenage daughter begins to fall through the floor.

Calls (2016)

Directed by Timothée Hochet and Normal Tonnelier, this 10-minute film has no visual aspect and consists only of a series of phone calls spoken in French. If you’re an English only speaker like me, you can read the translation on the subtitles on YouTube. The series calls take place while “an event” is breaking out globally. If you find this scary and want to get into more audio horror stories, I recommend Jeff Clement on YouTube and the podcast movie Ghostwriter with Adam Scott and Kate Mara.

Possibly in Michigan (1983)

Possibly in Michigan celebrates another aspect of short films which is that they get to be weird and fun. Very few people have the patience to sit through a feature-length art film but you can be weird for 12-minutes and way more people will be into it. Artist Cecelia Condit‘s Possibly in Michigan is a well known horror short about two young women who are stalked by a cannibal in a shopping mall. The film’s weirdness is meant to convey trauma, which does not exist in the body or the mind in a narrative structure but according to trauma scholar Bessel van der Kolk, “as flashbacks that contain fragments of the experience, isolated images, sounds, and the body sensations that initially have no context other than fear and panic.” Christian Broadcasting Network show The 700 Club reviewed the film, saying that it was “gay, anti-family, and anti-men.” In recent years the short has gone viral on social media sites like Reddit and TikTok, prompting renewed popularity for Condit and her work.

By externalizing her repressed traumatic memories into a physically real monster, Condit renders her protagonist’s internal demons visible and by extension conquerable.

(Video) APARTMENT 41 - Horror Short Film

Katia Houde, Personal Trauma Cinema and the Experimental Videos of Cecilia Condit and Ellen Cantor

If you enjoy Possibly in Michigan, Condit’s Beneath the Skin (1981) is also available on YouTube.

The Lost Films of Bloody Nora (2019)

Although director Sophia Di Martino calls this 10-minute short a horror comedy, it also feels like a family drama told with horror imagery. A lonely woman named Nora lives with her controlling father. One day the universe gives her a video camera and she is filled with joy and creativity, however her father doesn’t approve.

Wake (2010)

This 22-minute film has a lot of narration which is rare for a short film, but is helpful to understand the folk magic our protagonist performs in order to conjure her dream man (who, obviously turns into her nightmare man). Wake was screened at the 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for several major awards. Writer and director Bree Newsome said she faced so much resistance in making this film that it led to her becoming an activist. In 2015 she was arrested for removing the confederate flag from the South Carolina State House 10 days after white supremacist Dylann Roof opened fire at a church in Charleston, killing nine African Americans who were attending a Bible study.

A Love Story (2018)

A 3-minute film with no narrative at all, artist Petra Collins originally made this video with Selena Gomez for the IGTV platform. It’s beautiful and creepy and fun to experience something for pure visual pleasure. I wish it was a teaser trailer and we were getting a full-length feature of Selena joining the psychotic woman in horror cinematic universe some day.

Other short horror movies:

14 Short Horror Movies on YouTube (1)

You’re DeadHélène (2021) is currently streaming on Vimeo and follows a man whose ex-girlfriend is literally haunting him.

(Video) VICTIM - A Short Slender Man Horror Film

Meet The Author

Chrissy Stockton

Chrissy is the co-founder of Creepy Catalog. She has over 10 years of experience writing about horror, a degree in philosophy and Reiki level II certification.

14 Short Horror Movies on YouTube (2)

(Video) TRICK or TREAT! A Short Horror Film

FAQs

What is the shortest horror movie? ›

I give you – Alone In The Desert, the shortest horror movie in the world.

Is movie ok for 14 year olds? ›

Great film, but not for kids under 13

I recommend this film to everyone who loves slightly disturbing films and TV shows like me but for anyone under the age of 13 you really should not watch it. It's very gory and contains adult language.

Is Scary Movie appropriate for 14 year olds? ›

I recommend this 13+ as long as they are mature enough, during sex scenes I would look away just as they can easily too. If your kids know what the jokes in the movie means then they are old enough to watch it, if they find it entertaining/funny which is the purpose of watching the movie. 2 people found this helpful.

What horror movie has no blood? ›

'The Blair Witch Project' (1999)

The Blair Witch Project is a horror film brought together by captivating performances and memorable sound design, leaving an impact on the viewer without any blood whatsoever.

Why Is scary movie An 18? ›

Frequent extreme profanity, with the majority of it sexually-themed. Every character acts questionably, from the sometimes drunk and stoned killer to Cindy's drug-dealing criminal father. Drug use is prevalent. Countless references to oral sex.

Is scary movie An 18? ›

Scary Movie is rated R by the MPAA for strong crude sexual humor, language, drug use and violence. Contains: Strong crude sexual humor, coarse language, drug use, violence and nudity.

What horror has the most jump scares? ›

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is far and wide the most 'jumpy' horror movie ever made with 32 jump scares to enjoy throughout the film. Set in 1993.

Is Scary Stories inappropriate? ›

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets, and brief sexual references.

What horror movie traumatized as a child? ›

With more than 170 votes, the movie The Exorcist scared kids the most, closely followed by Jaws which accumulated 122 votes. The most famous and traumatizing clown from the movie It is in third place on the podium of the most terrifying movies for 106 people.

Can a 14 year old watch Rated R? ›

You must be at least 17 with a photo ID, which includes your birth date, to purchase a ticket for yourself for an R rated movie. If you are under 17, or do not have a photo ID, your parent must come to the theatre to purchase your ticket for an R rated movie.

Can a 14 year old watch 2? ›

I would say 13+ because it is really upsetting at some points (no spoilers) and it includes skulls and lots of swearing. 1 person found this helpful.

What age is TV 14 appropriate for? ›

TV-G - programs suitable for all ages; these are not necessarily children's shows. TV-PG - parental guidance is recommended; these programs may be unsuitable for younger children. TV-14 - these shows may be unsuitable for children under 14.

Is PG-13 ok for 12 year olds? ›

PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned, Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13. This rating is a stronger caution for parents that content included may not be appropriate for children under 13 (pre-teen ages). This may include stronger language, extended violence or sexual situations and drug-use.

Can a 17 year old take a 14 year old to an R-rated movie? ›

Patrons 17 to 20 years of age may only purchase more than one ticket if they are able to provide photo I.D. for proof of age for each additional ticket being purchased. As per the MPAA's film rating policy, patrons under the age of 17 will require an accompanying parent or guardian to attend an "R" rated film.

Is the ring ok for 12 year old? ›

I recently watched this with my 12 year old kid and he loved this movie. It had nothing bad in it, there was no sex/nudity, no F-words or any other extreme language, no drugs, no gore, but lots of terror. It was really scary for a PG-13 movie but it had nothing bad in it, just scary. 4 people found this helpful.

What horror movie people Cannot watch? ›

"I Don't Know That I Ever Want To Voluntarily Feel Like That Again": Horror Fans Are Sharing The Best Scary Movies They Can Never Rewatch
  • The Ring (2002) DreamWorks/Courtesy Everett Collection. ...
  • Nope (2022) ...
  • The Strangers (2008) ...
  • Smile (2022) ...
  • Mother! ...
  • Hereditary (2018) ...
  • Annihilation (2018) ...
  • Midsommar (2019)
13 Oct 2022

What are some clean horror movies? ›

A Quiet Place
  • Horror.
  • Features.
  • Lights Out (2011)
  • The Ring.
  • Insidious.
  • Mama.
  • horror.
  • The Final Girls.
29 Oct 2019

What is the #1 scariest movie on Netflix? ›

  1. Raw. Year: 2016. Director: Julia Ducournou. ...
  2. His House. Year: 2020. Director: Remi Weekes. ...
  3. The Haunting of Hill House. Year: 2018. Director: Mike Flanagan. ...
  4. Midnight Mass. Year: 2021. Director: Mike Flanagan. ...
  5. It Follows. Year: 2015. ...
  6. Creep. Year: 2014. ...
  7. I'm Thinking of Ending Things. Year: 2020. ...
  8. Crimson Peak. Year: 2015.
2 Nov 2022

What's the top 5 scariest movie on Netflix? ›

The Best Horror Movies on Netflix
  • #8. Cam (2018) 93% 53% #8. ...
  • #7. Sweetheart (2019) 93% 50% #7. ...
  • #6. Pan's Labyrinth (2006) 95% 91% #6. ...
  • #5. The Old Ways (2021) 95% 47% #5. ...
  • #4. Jaws (1975) 97% 90% #4. ...
  • #3. Under the Shadow (2016) 99% 73% #3. ...
  • #2. Creep 2 (2017) 100% 72% #2. ...
  • #1. His House (2020) 100% 74% #1.

Can a 7 year old watch scary movie? ›

While there is no absolute age at which scary movies are appropriate, Dr. Dry recommends not introducing them to very young children because of the potential to create long-term anxiety.

Can 12 year olds watch 18? ›

No one younger than 18 may see an 18 film in a cinema.

Can a 2 year old watch scary movies? ›

Children under the age of 5 may be too young to actually watch and understand violent movies; however, they are psychologically affected by the scenes they are exposed to," says Dr.

Can a 15 year old see an 18 film? ›

18 – for adults only

Films, videos and downloads rated 18 are not suitable for children. No one younger than 18 can go and see an 18 rated film in the cinema. No one younger than 18 may rent or buy an 18 rated video, DVD or download.

Can a 15 year old watch a 18 film with parents? ›

(18) 18 No-one younger than 18 may see an '18' film in a cinema.

Can a 13 year old watch a rated R movie? ›

The R-rating doesn't ban children under 17 from a movie, it restricts them to watching it with a parent or guardian (and includes a recommendation that parents and guardians learn more before allowing their child to see the movie).

Can 7 year olds watch 12 movies? ›

Films classified 12A and video works classified 12 contain material that is not generally suitable for children aged under 12.

Can my 10 year old watch scream? ›

Scream is not really appropriate for kids. Yes, the violence is graphic and gory. But Scream is also goofy which lessens the fear factor a bit, but it's still too scary for kids. Some teens may be able to handle the film if they're in to the other Scream movies and the horror genre.

What is the most popular movie for 13 year olds? ›

Best movies for teens to add to your watch list
  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) ...
  2. The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) ...
  3. The Baby-Sitters Club (1995) ...
  4. Queen of Katwe (2016) ...
  5. The Goonies (1985) ...
  6. Adventures in Babysitting (1987) ...
  7. The Princess Diaries (2001) ...
  8. Freaky Friday (2003)
20 Jul 2022

What movie has the most f words? ›

The 10 Most Profane Movies of All Time, Ranked by The Number of F-Bombs
  • Alpha Dog (2006) - 367 f-words. ...
  • Straight Outta Compton (2015) - 392 f-words. ...
  • Casino (1995) - 422 f-words. ...
  • Nil by Mouth (1997) - 428 f-words. ...
  • Summer of Sam (1999) - 435 f-words. ...
  • Uncut Gems (2019) - 560 f-words. ...
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) - 569 f-words.
1 Jun 2022

Can jumpscares hurt your heart? ›

In large amounts, adrenaline can be toxic enough to damage internal organs. Your heart is particularly vulnerable to damage from adrenaline. Too much of the hormone can cause the heart to develop abnormal rhythms. These rhythms can be so abnormal that the heart cannot pump blood properly – this can be fatal.

What is the top 5 scariest movie in the world? ›

The List: Top 5 Horror Movies Of All-Time, As Ranked By Experts
  • The Exorcist (1973) ...
  • Halloween (1978) ...
  • Paranormal Activity (2007) ...
  • The Shining (1980) ...
  • It Follows (2014)
31 Oct 2022

Should kids read horror? ›

Scary stories help kids learn how to deal with the real world. They're a way to acknowledge that life isn't always easy and learn that it's OK to be scared. Monsters are fun, but they should also help us understand scary situations, and how to cope with them.

Is it OK to watch horror at night? ›

Don't watch late at night

That's because all that suspense can increase physiological arousal in your body — the opposite of what helps you feel sleepy, Lindgren says. “It can be hard to go to sleep because you're trying to get the body to do two different things at the same time,” she says.

Can a 12 year old watch Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? ›

Verdict: Kids of all ages/limits will be fine.

Why do some children love horror? ›

For many kids, the world already feels like a scary, unfair place, and horror doesn't try to put a big sunny smile over that. Instead, it shows kids how to confront overwhelming, frightening situations where they might feel powerless, frequently through metaphorical plots that connect to real-life situations.

Why are babies used in horror? ›

In the modern world, nothing is more revered than children, as they are the embodiment of innocence. And for that innate innocence to be contaminated by something evil or corrupt or dangerous is inherently mysterious and disturbing.

Why are kids obsessed with horror? ›

Kids are instinctively drawn to scary things because they rely on the continuing safety of the real world. And in the real world, ghosts and monsters don't really exist. Reading scary stories means visiting places where impossible things are suddenly, temporarily, possible.

What movie should a 14 year old watch? ›

Best movies for teens to add to your watch list
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) ...
  • The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) ...
  • The Baby-Sitters Club (1995) ...
  • Queen of Katwe (2016) ...
  • The Goonies (1985) ...
  • Adventures in Babysitting (1987) ...
  • The Princess Diaries (2001) ...
  • Freaky Friday (2003)
20 Jul 2022

What movie should a 14 year old watch on Netflix? ›

Young Adult Movies & ShowsExplore more
  • The Kissing Booth 3.
  • Save the Last Dance.
  • All My Friends Are Dead.
  • Rock My Heart.
  • The Kissing Booth.
  • The Perfect Date.
  • Battle.
  • Rim of the World.

What horror movie should a 13 year old watch? ›

  • Arachnophobia.
  • Poltergeist.
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes.
  • Watcher in the Woods.
  • Super 8.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
15 Jul 2022

What is the most kid friendly horror movie? ›

  1. Monsters, Inc. (2001) ...
  2. Coraline (2009) Best for: Big Kids. ...
  3. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1950) ...
  4. Monster House (2006) Best for: Little Kids and Big Kids. ...
  5. Hocus Pocus (1993) Best for: Little Kids and Big Kids. ...
  6. Labyrinth (1986) Best for: Big Kids. ...
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) ...
  8. Frankenweenie (2012)
11 Aug 2022

Why are some movies 13+? ›

PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned, Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13. This rating is a stronger caution for parents that content included may not be appropriate for children under 13 (pre-teen ages). This may include stronger language, extended violence or sexual situations and drug-use.

Can 14 year olds watch 18 movies? ›

18 – for adults only

No one younger than 18 can go and see an 18 rated film in the cinema. No one younger than 18 may rent or buy an 18 rated video, DVD or download.

Can a 13 year old watch TV-14? ›

TV-14: parents strongly cautioned — not recommended for kids younger than 14; contains one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), strong language (L), and intensely suggestive dialogue.

What age rating is do revenge? ›

After a chance run-in, the two decide to team up to exact their revenge by proxy. Why is Do Revenge rated TV-MA? The MPAA rated Do Revenge TV-MA for substances and language.

What is inappropriate scary movie? ›

Frequent extreme profanity, with the majority of it sexually-themed. Every character acts questionably, from the sometimes drunk and stoned killer to Cindy's drug-dealing criminal father. Drug use is prevalent. Countless references to oral sex.

Can 12 year olds watch scream? ›

Still, Common Sense Media recommends only kids over 16 should watch the franchise, including the requel. Having said that, parents on the site think it's safe for 14+, with kids weighing in that 13+ should be OK.

Can a 11 year old watch Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? ›

The MPAA rated Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark PG-13 for terror/violence, disturbing images, thematic elements, language including racial epithets, and brief sexual references.

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