So many, many short films are made each year, yet a lot of film fans overlook them, thus making themselves a disservice. 2016 saw a fantastically good crop of shorts from a variety of countries, showcasing the talents of filmmakers worth watching. In 2016, I saw over 175 short films through film festivals, Vimeo, YouTube, etc. Choosing a top 10 was tough this year and kept changing from day to day. Out of those ever changing titles, here are the 10 Best short films, or my 10 favorites at the moment, and a bunch more worth checking out.
Special mentions (aka I wish it were a top 25): Innsmouth, Postpartum, Stained, Injustice for All, Japanese Legends: Slit, Watchbear, The Puppet Man, Kaddish!, Little Boy Blue, Deathly, Overtime, Hoshino, The Tunnel, Bionic Girl, and Disco Inferno.
On to the Top 10…
10. Severus Snape and the Marauders
Watch it Here
This $28,000 short uses its money very well and its cast even better. It does have a few issues (accents are not perfect), but it’s a lovable entry in the Harry Potter lore and a very worthy fan film, the only fan film on this list actually. It’s available on YouTube for all to see and it worth checking out for the settings, the acting, and the special effects. These effects would love appropriate in a much bigger film as well as the performance by Mick as a young Severus Snape.
9. Madre de Dios
This one I saw on the big screen twice at Fantasia and at Horrible Imaginings Film Festival and it was as good if not better the second time. The short by Gigi Saul Guerrero shows her talent as a director and her eye for images that will grab you. In the lead, Tristan Risk is lovely and shows that she can act. This one is gory and fantastic.
8. The Brentwood Strangler
From some of the folks behind Scary Endings, this holiday short is funny and fun while being about the holiday season and the difficulties of dating in LA. The performances are good, the story is a simple, yet effective, twist on all of the elements involved (dating, holiday romance, serial killers). Jordan Ladd is lovely and spunky in this one showing her playful yet badass side.
7. The Stylist
This short by Jill Gevargizian looks stunning and takes advantage of its look to sneakily add a bit of blood and horror. The film’s lead is great and she captivates the audience, her performance sells the film beyond the gore and the beautiful images. Gevargizian, for those who had not seen her work before, shows great talent for visual storytelling and for characters that bring you in. I’ll be keeping an eye on her next film.
The Stylist is available to watch on Shudder.
6. Genghis Khan Conquers the Moon
Another stunning entry by a strong female filmmaker, this one is a bit crazy in its premise and the execution sells it so well, it all makes sense. The cast is stellar, seriously check out that cast, and they all deliver. The film is interesting with crazy good visuals and it all works so well in the end. Totally worth checking out if you can.
5. Leshy (aka Lesapan)
Check out its trailer
This year’s short are visually stunning in general and this one is no exception. Leshy is short with great imagery but most importantly, an amazing creature, proving once again that practical effects are the way to go for any film as long as you can find talented people to bring your creatures to life. It has a talented, nuanced performance by its young lead and uses its deep woods settings to the best possible result in many scenes.
4. Death Metal
This one is Metal, not just in title but in subject and execution. It’s like the smaller, shorter, more ridiculous brother of Deathgasm. It’s super bloody with a character who ignores the rules to be able to gain fame to crazy, violent results. The acting is decent and so is the writing, but the main points of interest here are the music, blood, and all the ridiculous kills.
3. Night of the Slasher
Watch it Here
My Original Review / Felix’s Review
A one, long shot short film about a girl who breaks all the slasher rules to call the killer to her, Shant Hamassian’s film could have been a one-trick pony but ended up a bundle of fun and a good send up of slasher films with a funny mask for the killer.
Original Review / Facebook
Interview with the director
This one came out of left field for me. I did not know about it until I saw the blurb about it on the Fantasia website. I could not attend the screening but made sure to get a legit way of watching it and it did not disappoint. The story is dreamy but not saccharine; it has great acting, and beautiful images. Sam Elliott voices the dying dog and that alone would be enough to put it in the top, but the film stands on its own and still would with a different voice actor. Watch it for Mr. Elliott’s voice, stay for the beautifully sad story that will hit your heartstrings.
1. L’Ours Noir
Check out the trailer here
This short is really funny, like absolutely hilarious. Having seen a ton of shorts this year, this one is one I kept going back to. I got to see it on the big screen as well and it played to a raucous crowd that ate it up. The film inspired by a black bear protection flyer, it takes a bunch of European tourists and drops them in the Canadian wilderness. What puts this one of the top is the deadpan humor in some scenes and the “told ya” narration. The idea of some poor tourists being stuck in the wilderness of my motherland just worked so well, I cannot wait to see it again and see whatever this crew does next.