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How horror filmmakers became innovative during lockdown

As we have seen numerous times throughout the last year, isolation has bred creativity in the dark times. Isolated in their homes during lockdowns, filmmakers have discovered new ways of crafting films, without having to leave their homes. This can particularly be observed in the horror genre of films.

These filmmakers have been quite effective in using low-budget scares with low-resolution images, for invoking the chills. Club them together with traditional horror tropes like found footage, video pranks and sinister homes, and you can have a well-made horror film.

As the world had to stay confined to their homes, the common horror trope of homes turning sinister became more real and scarier. Unusual Attachment, a queer pandemic short film by Michael Varrati, showed the dangers of trying to find love during a time like this in his film. More creative ideas flowed and we had films like Host which became hugely popular. Made by Rob Savage, Host involves a Zoom call between friends which takes a sinister turn. The film originated from a short video posted on Twitter, which went viral and went on to become a full-length feature. Maybe the video would not have garnered so much popularity if it made in some other year, but Zoom calls becoming an integral part of our daily routine, the subject resonated with people instantly. Both these films were shot completely remotely.

Apart from these, another avenue through which short filmmakers showcased their creativity and horror filmmaking skills during the pandemic was TikTok. The short video platform witnessed numerous creators, both professional and amateurs, posting their horror stories and seemingly real-time found footage

tropes. Without any evident animation, these found footage videos, when seen in

a 15-second clip on TikTok, seem extremely realistic and terrifying.

The year of the pandemic has been a real testament to the innovative powers of low-budget filmmaking, and the horror genre, despite the limited resources, has taken complete advantage of this. The filmmakers have clearly demonstrated that even a time limit of 15-second is enough for them to scare their audience. The theme of found footage has seen a resurgence among horror fans, and in the context of the tumultuous year that we had, these digital experiments have paved the way for new filming themes and techniques.


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