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Thread: The Box- Horror/Thriller Short Film

  1. Lightbulb The Box- Horror/Thriller Short Film

    Hey everyone! I finally finished my 8 minute Horror / Thriller short film THE BOX. It really means a lot to me. This forum's advice really helped a lot on making this happen, so I just wanted to thank everyone for that. So please take some time to watch it and let me know your honest opinion. Every review means the world to us.
    Thanks again FOR EVERYTHING!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I thought this looked and sounded great, but my attention did begin to wander after a while as it all seemed a bit random without any direction. I'm glad I stuck with it because when he opened the box (a) what it led to was unexpected (to me) and (b) it suddenly made sense of much of what had gone before. I think it sends out a strong message. Whether it will be heeded is another matter - that's if I've understood it correctly. And I do have some doubts as I have failed to understand the significance of the phone call at the beginning and phone ringing at the end.

    Really nicely edited and a fantastic soundscape. Very well acted as well. My only slight technical reservation was all the shooting in dark scenes (I liked the "noir" type lighting BTW) resulted in some slightly noisy footage. I am struggling myself with this - trying to force my camera to "just go to black" when there is not enough light on an area to pick up colour. Not easy with 1 1/3" sensor and I know that a large sensor would do much better. What camera did you use on this?

  3. Default

    Thank you very much Tim I really appreciate it, it was meant to feel random at the beginning, like if it was going nowhere, then we added that twist that made everything come together (or at least I hope it did!). Also it was meant to be a bit abstract and experimental, specially the phone ringing at the end, it was supposed to represent that the whole experience was about to begin again, and that the protagonist was stuck living in that destructive cycle, the phone ringing represented an indicator that a new cycle was about to begin. The box represented his addiction, that's why he was possessed by it, but also it was all meant to be left uncertain, and open to interpretation. About the ugly noise in the darkness, it was mainly because youtube's compression, however i did add a touch of film grain in post to fix the banding issue, which in my opinion is a lot worse. However I did shot the whole scene bright and add most of the darkness in post production. I shot the film in canon t2i with Cinestyle, using the 50mm f1.8 lens and the kit lens. Again, thanks for letting me know your thoughts on it, constructive criticism is always really important to me, I'll let you know when my next film is out. Thanks again Tim!

  4. #4


    This is a much more mature piece to your last one. Both story wise and technically. You seem to have thought out the shots much more in this as apposed to just following the action as you did a lot in "Prey". From what you have written you seem to have achieved what you set out to do in this film. I'm impressed with the audio and visuals and how you combined them to make this disturbing piece.

    I was interested to hear you added film grain to reduce banding. Is that a problem with the camera or was it shooting with a low bit rate (the usual reason for banding) ?

    Well done on creating an intense atmospheric piece.

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    Thank you very much midnight as always your reviews mean a lot to me, I tried to make the whole thing as meaningful as i could.

    About the banding issue, the bit rate was normal, not really sure if it was because of the camera (canon t2i) which doesn't handle gradients very well in the first place, it could also have been caused by the extreme color grading or the H264 compression (It looked quite better in Apple ProRes). I was most likely a combination of this three things. However I believe it was the youtube compression what mainly turned the grain into digital ugliness.

    Thanks for taking the time for watching and replying, as always your thoughts are highly appreciated

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    São Paulo - Brazil


    Hi Jorge, thanks for posting your films here. They are very well made and we all here understand how MUCH effort you must put on them. The number of different scenes for example.... fantastic!

    Maybe because Iīm brazilian, I donīt like the more dramatic shots/acting, like the first one where he holds the box with shaking hands...and, in the same subject, sometimes it looks like a bit too much of one single idea, I mean, the story does not run in a pace that makes us, the viewers, want more.... Like Tim said, the story seems to start when the box is oppened, but that is about 4 minutes already in the story.... What came before could probably be reduced by 50% perhaps?

    Iīll watch again to see if I understand better, but I didnīt get the transition from a place that looks like a dirt basement to the nice house he runs to after the "encounter" in the park.... Made me think: was he in this house before?? I donīt think so.....but.... And, while weīre in doubt about things, we loose the connection with the film.

    The ringing phone is an interesting touch, but I must say that only after reading your explanation above it made some sense.... It seemed like something much more important in the beginning, as it almost opens the film, but then disapears until the last scene.... and, again, didnīt made much sense...

    I enjoyed the pandora effect of the box over his visions and feelings. Looked great too...

    In resume, I think you plan and film the scenes VERY well..... I guess you fit very well on what filmmakers call DOP!!! Script writing is the next main chapter on the book ?

    PS: this comes from a person that can NOT make 10% of what you did on your films, so donīt take it as a bad review, just a review.... Best wishes from BR,

  7. #7


    I didn't like the cracking sound when he turned his head at 2:10
    Overall quite nice but it could have been cut down a bit.

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    Hey Tony, first of all thank you for taking the time for reviewing my film, I really appreciate it. About the pacing, other people have already told me about that issue. When I was doing it, I really believed that the first part of the film needed to be a somehow slow/confusing. I was trying to make the illusion that nothing in the film was making sense, I felt it enhanced the big twist a bit.
    The truth is that I wasn’t considering that this film was going mainly for the internet, where people click away when things get slow. It probably wasn’t the best call.

    About the location issues, I never noticed it was anything weird or confusing about it, I just shot the whole thing in my house. The place he left at the beginning and the place he returned to, is exactly the same, the confusión probably has a lot to do with the lighting and the way they were both shot on. I really never would’ve thought about it, that’s why feedback is so important! J

    The thing about the phone was probably a bit too abstract , it wasn’t meant to be perfectly clear either, it’s main purpose was leave the viewer thinking about it after the film ended.

    By the way my next film is going to be a dramatic very script oriented film, i’ll let you know whe it’s done!

    Overall thank you very much for this in-depth review, it really helps me to grow as a filmmaker and that means a lot to me , Best wishes from Mexico! J

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    Thanks man, I really appreciate it

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