Some of us are using this time in quarantine to catch up on the metric buttload of shows and movies we’ve always meant to watch. Others are staring blankly into a void. We get it. But there are some annoyingly creative types out there who are continuing to make stuff. One of these overachievers is director David F. Sandberg. Sandberg hit it big with a self-produced short film that became the feature Lights Out. Since then he’s directed Annabelle: Creation and Shazam!. But now he’s back with a new horror short, Shadowed. It’s kind of a spiritual successor to Lights Out.
The short is co-written and stars Lotta Losten, Sandberg’s wife who also starred in the Lights Out short. Both shorts utilize the creepiness of shadows and negative space, especially at night. There could be anything lurking in the darkness, even something as seemingly innocuous as a shadow. A lot of times, especially as kids, we see shadows in our darkened bedroom and perceive it to be a monster or something. But when we turn the lights on, it’s just clothes on a bookshelf.
David F. Sandberg
But in Shadowed, it’s just a shadow. The real genius here is what if it’s clearly a shadow of a recognizable object or person, but that thing isn’t there? A vase isn’t much to be afraid of, but it’s only the shadow of said vase, insta-terror.
Sandberg himself explained the importance of darkness (real darkness) in movies in a recent video essay he made on his channel. He explains how a lot of Hollywood horror spoils the atmosphere by making the setting too well lit. He also talks about using a bounce-board, a white card next to the camera, that bounces flashlight back onto the actor’s face when they walk toward the camera. It’s a pretty fascinating thing to have to worry about.
But it works out. The Lights Out short is still incredibly impressive.
And if you’re going to be trapped in your home, waiting for the quarantine to lift, why not explore the darkness of someone else’s mind as a breather from exploring your own?
Featured Image: David F. Sandberg