When it comes short horror films that really grip you with their suspense, Curve by Tim Egan and Lodestone Films is right up there. The ten minute film has a very simple premise that immediately puts the viewer on edge. We start with a woman (Laura Jane Turner), our protagonist, who is clinging to a vast, sloping surface that heads down into an abyss. The only thing stopping her from falling is the curved part she's teetering on.
There's no explanation as to how she got there or where exactly she might be, and we also don't get any clues as to the weird inhuman noise that's emanating, terrifyingly, from the seemingly bottomless pit below. As short horror films go, it's tightly directed and a great reminder that when it comes to this genre, you don't always need to be shown for it to be effective, it can just be implied.
How To Make A Short Horror Films Edgy
By stripping the narrative back and just having the woman, the precipice, and the doom lurking below it works, because it effectively places us all in her position. And with its inexplicable scenario it comes across like a nightmare that ideally you would wake up from sweating, but grateful it was alll just a dream.
While many lesser short horror films may well have done something like that, Egan doesn't pull any cheap tricks of the 'it was all a dream' type. Instead he just wracks up the tension until the very last..
On his website Egan explains that the inspiration behind the film came from two places: one was a car accident he was in, where the director was run down and was thrown into the middle lane of a busy road.
Director Tim Egan And The Story Behind Curve
"While crossing the street I was collected by a car trying to beat the lights, heavy rain impairing his judgement." explains Egan. "My situation instantly changed from ‘person trying to get home from work and wondering what to cook for dinner’ to ‘person hoping they survive the next few seconds’. I saw the car a split second before he hit me, no time to actually act, and was then hurled into the centre lane. I had enough awareness to know that I could very well open my eyes and see the advancing license plate of an oncoming car in that second lane. And that would be it. Before I opened my eyes, I put both hands out and grabbed the asphalt to brace myself, an action that would’ve had no effect had there actually been a car in that lane. But I opened my eyes to see stopped traffic and concerned drivers coming to my aid. I still remember the feeling of wet tarmac under my fingers, the rain on my face. And the futile act I had instinctively retreated to. The urge to resist, even when faced with the inevitable." Translating experiences like this into short horror films is what adds to the tension.
Good Short Horror Films Include Minimalism
The other perfect ingredient short horror films crave came about when Egan had a conversation Egan with friend who was suffering from depression and grief. "She talked about the only good moments of her day being the seconds after she woke up." notes Egan. "Her mind was clear and at peace for a few seconds before she remembered her pain. Then grief rushed in, a feeling not unlike vertigo. She said the earth opened up beneath her and the rest of her day was simply about holding on by sheer force of tension. No one saw the constant struggle she went through, and the damaging effort required to keep herself above the abyss."
Neither of these was explicitly on his mind when he wrote the script, Egan notes, but he can't deny their influence, albeit unconsciously.
Still, whatever inspired it, it remains a great example of how minimalism, in sound design, direction, setting, can often work brilliantly when it comes to short horror films. Check out more from Lodestone Films at their website.