The Swedish horror short Lights out has gone viral and captured the imagination (and nightmares?) of millions of viewers. Made on no money at all, the film also won a Best Director award.
The Swedish horror short Lights out has in a short time been seen by nearly 5 million views on Youtube and Vimeo (and counting), something which is every budding filmmaker’s dream. The short film, which is less than 3 minutes in duration, was made by David Sandberg from Gothenburg, Sweden and published last December, but in recent days, and in less than a week, it reached a new audience of millions, through social media.
Sandberg is a filmmaker and animator who has made a number of shorts and documentaries, and chose to make a horror film to enter the Who’s There? short film competition on the Bloody Cuts website, with judges such as Joe (Gremlins) Dante and Gale Anne (Aliens) Hurd. Bloody Cuts is an anthology of short horror films online, to promote UK horror filmmaking.
Not only did the video become a hit; Sandberg was also awarded the Best Director award in the competition, although his film was not one of the three overall winners.
The film was shot in one evening, followed by a day of editing and visual production, and about a day for adding sound. All the sound was added in post production. -I think sound is probably more important than the image in a horror film, so I wanted full control, Sandberg says in an interview on the Bloody Cuts site. The film was shot on the Blackmagic Cinema camera in 2.5k raw, with one lens, the Tokina 11-16 2,8.
Most short films have their limitations, and this one, made on no money at all and in just a few days, was no exception. In fact, the story and concept of the film came from the limitations themselves, as the film had to be made by just David and his wife. The film stars David’s wife, Lotta, and the entire crew were just the two of them. -Seeing shadows in your apartment when the lights are out feels like something people can relate to, Sandberg said to Moviezine. The film had no script, as it was all in Sandberg’s head. -There were no problems really. It went so smooth and was so fun that I thought; this is what I want to do, he added.
The competition had more than 300 entries, but the film went on not only to win an award, but also gained enough interest to be on its way to film festivals. Film industry workers and producers have also contacted Sandberg, who hopes to work more within the genre. Some of the best feedback has been, he says, reaction videos. Film fans have videoed themselves as they watch the film, and posted the reaction films online, becoming viral themselves.
David Sandberg’s award winning short film:
David Sandberg is not finished with horror. He has submitted an application for a grant for a short horror film he has written, a short he hopes to develop into a feature if it becomes successful. You can follow his work on his website.
Fan reaction video: