Now for Something Different: A Genuinely Creepy Horror Short: “Other Side of the Box” [VIDEO]

Arts • Views: 19,413


A couple receives a mysterious package from an old friend.

A selection of Short of the Week, the web’s leading curators of quality short films.


Subscribe to S/W on YouTube!
Twitter: @shortoftheweek

“It’s no secret that horror shorts have the propensity to be formulaic: creepy thing in the shadows menaces protagonist, and then, finally pops out for a final jump scare. Boom! Cut to black…rinse and repeat…

Granted, there are various takes on the template, often dependent on a high-concept hook or elevated by production polish. But, when you boil it down, films of the genre often fall victim to its tropes.

Bucking the trend, Caleb Phillips, Other Side of the Box is anything but predictable. It’s a rare example of genre suspense where you have literally no idea where it’s going. It’s full of misdirection and structural surprises that all work together to subvert expectation. Moreover, where most horror films take great care to not reveal the “creature” until the very end (before that final jump scare), Phillips basically does the opposite: in the film’s best creep-out moment, we get to see the “thing” right smack dab in the middle. It’s a perfectly executed moment that is both uncanny and scary. And, so, the film focuses on a different creepy idea: that of knowingly being watched and, to persevere one’s self, being unable to look away.

As Phillips writes to Short of the Week:

“I was so taken with this idea of terror coming from something as simple as being stared at, and the imagery of the head in the box deeply unsettled me. I’m a huge fan of cosmic horror and I wanted to make a film that felt more like an investigation instead of running from a monster.”

The film, overall, succeeds in its mission. It’s fun to discover the “rules”of the scenario in real-time with the protagonists and this structural drive allows the film to find new things to present to the audience along the way. Many genre shorts run out of steam once they reveal their central high-concept trick. Box, rather, keeps building complexity and tension, getting better as it goes.

Other Side of the Box won the Grand Jury Award for best midnight Short at SXSW in 2019, and as that accolade from that particular category would suggest, the film definitely skews strange. But, it’s also not inaccessible or abstract. That’s an important distinction. It’s a film that makes up its logic, but in doing so, never loses the audience. The mythology and character choices all feel like they make sense in the moment. And, of course, by relying on traditional genre thrills and suspense, it feels inherently watchable, never getting tripped up by its own inherent strangeness. It’s both bizarre and creepy in equal measure.

Endings (especially in shorts) are hard. This one is a bit tough to decipher, but structurally, it feels like the film builds to a place of satisfying climax. And, thankfully, Phillips never feels like he resorts to easy tricks of the genre. It’s the kind of film with such a unique hook and central image that it’s bound to stick in the back of your mind for some time to come.” - S/W Curator Ivan Kander

Directed by
Caleb J. Phillips

Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)
Caleb J. Phillips
Nick Tag

Tyler Pochop … Man in the box
Teagan Rose … Rachel
Josh Schell … Shawn
Nick Tag … Ben

Produced by
Nick Coppola … producer
Caleb J. Phillips … producer
Nick Tag … producer

Music by
Avery Kentis

Cinematography by Laura Jansen

Sound Department
Tyler Pochop … sound

Camera and Electrical Department
Christian Phillips … first assistant camera
Steven Talens … gaffer
Caleb J. Phillips … colorist

Costume and Wardrobe Department
Haharhel Valencia … wardrobe Editorial Department

Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
538: “It’s Way Too Soon to Count Trump Out” This is why we have to work like Biden is actually eight points behind, rather than ahead. Joe Biden currently has a robust lead in polls. If the election were held today, he might even win in a landslide, ...
10 hours, 59 minutes ago
Views: 98 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Harris, Parton, Ronstadt on Late Show, March 24, 1999 (Full, Stereo) "Trio II" was recorded in 1994 but not released until 1999, when Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt appeared on Late Show to perform Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush." The Glass Harmonica (or Armonica) was played by ...
2 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 282 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Ratched You deserve someone to show you mercy. From the creator of American Horror Story, witness the origin of one of the world's most iconic characters, Nurse Ratched. Sarah Paulson stars in Ratched, coming to Netflix on September 18. SUBSCRIBE: ...
3 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 302 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
The Jaded Hearts Club - Reach Out I’ll Be There (Official Video) The Official Video for Reach Out I'll Be There by The Jaded Hearts Club. The new album You've Always Been Here is out 2 October, pre-order now: Listen to We'll Meet Again / Reach Out I'll Be There: ...
3 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 449 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Raised by Wolves — New Ridley Scott Television Series Mother was programmed to protect everyone after Earth had been destroyed. When the big bad wolf shows up, she is the one we must trust. Subscribe: Be the first to know more:HBO Max: hbom.axLike HBO Max on Facebook: ...
5 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 608 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Black Pumas - Confines (Official Live Session With String Quartet) “Confines (Live in Studio)” is available now to stream/download. It is from the deluxe edition of the Black Pumas’ debut album which will be released digitally August 28 and physically October 9. Pre-order in 2xLP, 2xCD and digital formats: ...
1 week ago
Views: 742 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Orville Peck - Smalltown Boy (Official Audio) Official audio for Orville Peck’s cover of "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat out now: Pre-save / Pre-add Orville's new EP Show Pony here: Amazon - orvillepeck.lnk.toApple Music - orvillepeck.lnk.toiTunes - orvillepeck.lnk.toSoundcloud -  orvillepeck.lnk.toSpotify - orvillepeck.lnk.toYouTube Music - orvillepeck.lnk.toYouTube - Follow Orville PeckFacebook - facebook.comInstagram - instagram.comTwitter - @orvillepeck LyricsTo ...
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 785 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 6 • Share to Facebook
Norah Jones - to Live "To Live" is taken from Norah's newest album 'Pick Me Up Off The Floor,' out now and available to stream/download here: Connect with See Norah live: Music video by Norah Jones performing To Live. © 2020 ...
1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 961 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Future Islands - for Sure (Official Video) 'For Sure' by Future Islands, out now on all platforms: A Film by Samuel Jerome MasonFinishing by John HarrisonRendered with GarageFarmSpecial Thanks to Anna, Jemima, Mike, Willy, Saad, Eric, Arsen Perish the painI was impoverishedThose ties that windAnd ...
1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 951 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - Get on My Wave I wrote and produced “Get On My Wave” with Kyle “King Tuff” Thomas the day we met last summer. I’ve struggled with releasing the song during the pandemic because it felt too happy; detached from the tumult of our ...
1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 926 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook