“I’ve been hearing strange noises from my attic… So I called a few friends and went to investigate…”

What do you do if you’re a filmmaker on lockdown in 2020? Clarification: what do you do if you are a filmmaker on lockdown in 2020 with a group of very jumpy, easily frightened friends? Make a horror short pranking them and then develop it into a feature of course!

If you are a fellow short film/horror fan, you may have seen Rob Savage’s latest 2-min short where he investigates a strange noise coming from his attic while on a zoom call. Released at the beginning of lockdown, the zoom-prank/short film quickly went viral with such wonderful headlines as Man leaves friends petrified after investigating ‘footsteps’ coming from attic or Guy scares sh*t out of friends after telling them there’s something making noise in attic. Die-hard Kan-Kan fans may even remember it as one of Kan-Kan’s first Short of the Week.

Well, that short has been developed into a feature. Not “is going to be”, it has already happened.  After the short (which startled me and truly woke me up on a Monday morning) raked in millions of views, Rob Savage saw the unique potential it had as a feature in this current age of video conferencing and isolation and got moving! Armed with his DIY short, Savage approached Shudder and developed the short into his new feature with co-writers Gemma Hurley and Jed Shepherd in a mere 12 weeks.

Rob Savage on the process: “We knew we wanted to get it made before the day-to-day reality changed. We wanted it to be something that we could shoot and release within lockdown, or as close as we could get. The whole thing from the initial idea to delivering it yesterday (Tuesday 28th July 2020) was 12 weeks. So it was really condensed.”

Not letting Covid slow the film down but instead motivating him to get the film completed faster, Savage directed the cast remotely with the actors operating their own cameras, lighting, and even practical effects (No spoilers, but after seeing Host…um…how in the world?! ). According to the press release, “Due to social distancing precautions, Savage never set foot in the same room as his actors at any point during production and instead directed them remotely.”

The final product “Host”(which I watched last night through my fingers) premiered July 3oth on Shudder.

As a big ole fan of short films, it is always fascinating to hear each one’s backstory. Each short, its creation, and its goals are unique and this short is no different. From it’s origin as a prank on friends during lockdown during a global pandemic, to a viral short, to feature shot entirely in quarantine, this is not only a unique look at a short adapted into a feature in a speedy 12 weeks, but also serves as a sort of time capsule for the time it was created. The short and feature are truly 2020 films shot in 2020. Full of quarantine references,  they both put twists and horror into socializing in isolation (and all the relatable Zoom quirks we now know so well).

The short and feature also show that, along with all the other filmmakers working and creating during these times, a global pandemic may change the way they do it, but it can’t stop the film community from finding incredibly creative and inventive ways to do what they love.

While some of us are struggling to keep up with the dishes and remember what day of the week it is, Rob Savage has not only created a successful short, but also developed it into a feature you can view TODAY.

Abby Specht, Operations & Administration Manager 

Check out a one-on-one interview of Rob Savage by Rob Munday below to hear more about the creation of the short and the process of developing it into a feature during these crazy times.

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If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the short below and the feature “Host” on Shudder ! I recommend watching them as intended… alone & in the dark.