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Short Cuts: The Short Horror Review Roundup for January 2023

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 | Short Cuts


Happy New Year, short horror fans! We’re kicking off 2023 at Short Cuts the only way we know how: with more slices of quality short horror films for you to nibble on. This month, we’ve got a young girl trying desperately to avoid her own demise, an ailing man’s gamble with death, and an early contender for the weirdest short film I’ll watch all year. Bon appétit, and as always, if you or anyone you know have a short film you’d like me to consider or if you’ve got some news you’d like to share in the short horror world, please contact me via Twitter or email me at!

Highway (2016)
9:41 minutes Director: Vanessa Gazy Starring: Odessa Young, Rebecca Smart, Andrew S. Gilbert
This short from Australian director Vanessa Gazy lives on the brink of catastrophe, as a teenage girl named Hester trudges along a remote highway. As she gets picked up by a family driving to the next town, the news broadcasting through her walkman hints at a grisly fate that hasn’t happened yet. Gazy establishes a sense of impending doom with a gorgeous but threatening landscape, ramping up tension as Hester tries to figure out if the knowledge of her demise can prevent it or if she’s just helping seal her own fate. It’s existential dread at it’s best, leaving us to wonder if we’re always just one step away from falling into the encroaching void. 
Where to find it: Streaming on YouTube

From Where It Hides (2022)
9:07 minutes Director: Quinn Halleck Starring: Gildart Jackson, Bonnie Morgan
If the protagonist from Highway is trying to avoid death, the nameless protagonist in Quinn Halleck’s short film is running at it head on. After escaping from a local hospital where it’s hinted he’s been suffering from a terminal illness, the man makes his way to an abandoned mine where he believes he can find death itself. If he’s able to read a particular poem all the way through then he believes he can cheat death, but if not then death will consume him. It’s a bold gambit, and honestly one we know can’t end well given historical attempts to outsmart the Reaper. The inevitability of the man’s plight is heightened by some really gnarly visual effects both for the creature stalking him in the mine as well as the affliction that starts to consume him as he tries to get through the poem. Maybe watch this one during the day if you’re scared of the dark.
Where to find it: Streaming on YouTube

Bug Bites (2021)
7:59 minutes Director: Daniel DelPurgatorio Starring: Julia Atkin, David ‘Big’ Krause, Tony Gold
Daniel DelPurgatorio’s short opens with young tenant Sandra complaining to a friend over the phone about some nasty bug bites she’s spotted on her legs. You may have some idea where things are going from here…and I guarantee you’re 100% wrong. I don’t know if DelPurgatorio had consumed copious amounts of drugs when he wrote this film, or if he’s just wonderfully demented, but this movie goes in some truly wild, gruesome, and dare I say darkly funny places as Sandra unravels horrors living in her bed (or possibly just in her own head). Whatever the truth, this short is truly a surreal experience and a hell of a ride.  
Where to find it: Streaming on YouTube

Bryan Christopher