Bite Size Halloween

3 out of 5

Directed by: Various

covers season 1

I can, and will, watch this forever; I will take a 365-day Bite Size Halloween. The concept of a calendar-countdown of short, 5-minute, horror-tinged films as a lead-up to the October 31st holiday is a perfect one for a streaming platform, and we’re in the age of accessible enough tools to make the production and effects of such shorts of a baseline quality that prevents entries from seeming too slap-dash.

That said: shorts are hard. You don’t have time to do much setting up for your original idea, and so a lot of the episodes have to trade in either vagueness – something creepy is happening that will be unexplained – or predictability. I’d say the better offerings tend to go for humor, or camp, because that’s generally easier to effect: you can just set things up for a punchline, and you can use your budget for one good gag without it coming across as a cheap jump scare or somesuch.

The lump result of this is a series that’s a lot of fun because it’s exactly what it says – it’s bite-sized, and of a genre that allows for stepping off into weirder realms if so desired – but is also rather limited in how impressive any given episode can be. There’s surely a lot of talent here, but my eye isn’t keen enough to have spotted any standouts I would toss a movie to, and a lot of pluses in script or visuals tend to be balanced out by amateur acting, or a lack of a good conclusion, and etc. There’s also maybe the curse of having a whole month of episodes – making my 365-day pitch even worse – because it flattens out the selection; if there were maybe only 10 or so episodes, perhaps I could pick out some clear winners.

All the same, however this is delivered, I’m in favor of it, and regardless of my inability to more objectively assess day 1 vs. day X, if this gives any of these creators a leg up on their next works, all the better.