EFG Magazine

A wide-eyed robot takes in the world in this shot from animated short Critical Component.

‘Tis the season to binge-watch all the movies you missed in 2021, as well as all the awards hopefuls crowding streamers and theaters this time of year. But if you’ve just got a few minutes to spare, we’ve got a trio of sci-fi and horror films perfect for a little bite-sized entertainment .

1) Significant Other

Shared by Short of the Week , Quinn George’s Significant Other introduces us to a couple in the middle of the night, about to be in the middle of a fight over a phenomenon that’s either a trick of the light or something far more malevolent. It’s short, spooky, makes great use of a setting that’s basically a single hallway, and doesn’t feel the need to over-explain itself. It will leave you feeling awfully unsettled.

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2) Critical Component

From Dust comes Derek Frederickson’s animated short Critical Component about a bug-eyed, spindly-limbed robot taking his first steps out into the world, only to discover he’s got a defective part. What’s a curious and determined little guy got to do to set himself right? Make a mistake or two, maybe stumble a bit—and then with just a little help, find his true purpose.

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3) They Came From Below

When “they” pops up in a horror movie title, you know to be on alert for whoever or whatever that might refer to. Dylan Doornbos Hayes’ short stars It and Locke Key ’s Jackson Robert Scott as a kid who begs to stay home while his sister hurries to the store—but soon begins to have some serious second thoughts about being left alone in the dark. They Came From Below is legit suspenseful (Scott definitely has the market cornered on “precocious younger brothers dealing with monstrous situations”), and its last shot leaves you wondering what happened next without feeling like a cop-out.

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