In 2015, a 12-minute long horror film called Vicious started touring the festival circuit — and doing exceptionally well in the process. Brought to you by director Oliver Park, Vicious is, hands down, one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen. The film is now publicly available and you can watch it down below. But first, a bit about the movie.
Shortly after the death of her sister Katie, Lydia returns home one night to find her front door ajar. Trying her best to ignore it, she attempts to get on with her night, but something has other ideas...
This is Vicious's basic premise, and it spends its entire runtime developing and twisting that premise into a chilling, suspenseful experience that you aren’t likely to forget anytime soon. Park's Hitchcockean influences are clear throughout Vicious's tense 12+ minutes. The simple yet beautiful lighting design often tricks you into thinking that you’re watching a black and white movie, and composer Matthew Walker’s eerie music cues do a wonderful job of calling back to the glory days of classic horror.
Park was able to assemble an absolutely fantastic crew for his first outing in the director’s chair – due in part to his ‘day job’ as an award-winning actor – and the quality from every department really shows. He’s managed to transition from in-front of, to behind the camera seamlessly, and his passion for his new found craft shines through in every single frame of Vicious.
Throughout Vicious, there are no cheap scare tactics, and everything has a point and reason behind it. It doesn’t scare you just for the sake of scaring you, each fright has a method (and perhaps a madness) behind it, and each one will stay with you for a long time after the credits end.
I was recently lucky enough to sit down with Oliver for an interview, and he told me the best way to watch Vicious is in the dark with headphones in, so that’s how I watched it. I still haven’t recovered. From start to end, Vicious is a horror film unlike any other – it’s intense, it’s genuinely terrifying, and if nothing else it’s one of the finest examples of horror film-making in recent memory.
Anyway, without further ado, here is Vicious in it’s terrifying, brutally beautiful glory: