Have a Few Minutes? Watch These Funny – and Terrifying – Sci-Fi Short Films

We’ve covered some weird and wonderful shorts in the past (including a choose-your-own-adventure style film where you play the role of the smart thermostat), but these new ones are pretty amazing. Part of a list of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films under 10 minutes compiled by io9, here are some of our favorite sci-fi entries.

1. Reverse

A car’s backup camera seems like the least likely piece of tech to be turned into a horror scenario, but here we are. With so many big-budget horror movies relying on jump scares, Reverse is refreshing in the fact that it constantly seems to be setting them up, but never actually throws a screamer in your face to get you to jump in your seat. Despite the extremely simple premise (guy gets in car, tries to drive out of parking garage), the film manages to turn a car into an object of horror, and not in the traditional Stephen King sort of way.

2. Progress Bar

Go ahead and watch Progress Bar. It’s a charming, quirky little short about a girl and her AI personal assistant Lexi, along with a Ready Player One-style VR world. One note, though: pay attention to the dialogue. Why? Because while the story was written by a human, Lexi’s dialogue was generated by a deep-learning AI (as explained in the film opening titles). As gimmicks go, it’s a pretty cool idea, but even cooler is the fact that Lexi’s dialogue is almost seamless. In the words of Owen Wilson: “Wow.”

3. L1ZY

Even if you haven’t seen Black Mirror or 2001: A Space Odyssey, the concept of a relentlessly polite but insidious artificial intelligence turning on the humans its meant to serve has become a part of modern pop culture, just like zombie apocalypses or 80s nostalgia. L1ZY knows that. It knows you know that, just like it knows you’ve been bombarded by endless ads for Google Home and Amazon Echo. What follows is a dark, clever little film that represents the pinnacle of everyone’s fear toward those home assistants, yet it still manages to make you smile.