Steve Desmond’s ‘Monsters’ Shakes Up the Genre

The word “monster” can mean different things to different people. Some may consider supernatural beings to be pretty monstrous, while others may fear more mythological creatures. There are even people who think snakes, bees, strangers and clowns are out to get them. For 9-year-old Jenn in the horror short Monsters, the scariest things are the ones she knows nothing about.

Monsters was directed by Steve Desmond (The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre 2004) and co-written by Desmond and Michael Sherman (Dark House 2009). The 13-minute short stars Say Anything’s Ione Skye, Caitlin Carmichael (Martyrs 2015), Christopher Weihl (Masters of Sex TV series) and Joey Luthman (The Long Road Home TV series).

The official synopsis:

Jenn lives in an underground bunker with her family, protected from the monsters that now ravage the world.

This is the day that she goes outside…

Pre-teen Jenn (Carmichael) has never been outside. For her entire life, she has lived in an underground bunker while the members of her family – mom Marie (Skye), dad Henry (Weihl) and brother Isaac (Luthman) – brave the horrible monsters that now dominate the earth to keep the foursome safe and well-supplied. When she’s alone, Jenn practices with a wooden sword, preparing herself for the day when she will finally be able to help the others in their collecting efforts. After being told once again that she’s just too young, Jenn sneaks out, only to discover something even more terrifying than she ever imagined.

Being the horror fans that you all are, I’m going to guess that you’re already pretty sure you know what the twist is. Yeah, you probably do know. But I can guarantee that you have no idea what happens after that twist. Talk about horror.

Concept art for ‘Monsters’

I have never seen anything quite like Monsters. The concept is fresh, creative and as clear as a bell. There’s no gore, but this short is not lacking anything because of this. As a matter of fact, I would have been disappointed if there had been anything bloody in Monsters. But the terror… oh, the terror is there. Just the thought of living in a world like this gives me instant goosebumps. Are you curious to see what I’m talking about? You can see the short yourself at the end of this article. Maybe then you can answer this – who, exactly, is the monster in Monsters?

So far, in the 94 film festivals where Monsters has screened, the short has won 39 awards, including Best Short Film at the San Diego Comic-Con International Film Festival, as well as being named a Vimeo Staff Pick. You’re sure to see why once you’ve viewed it. Be sure to leave a comment, letting us know what you thought of this tight little short.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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