Lady Bird proved that teen experiences can be quite the nightmare, but the stars of the Sacramento love letter have proved they don't need angry moms or terrible boyfriends to bring the fear. The New York Times Magazine has created a series of short horror films with some of your favorite stars, including Lady Bird's own Timothee Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan, and you're going to want to keep the lights on when you watch these.
In order to celebrate a year full of fantastically creepy horror flicks, like Jordan Peele's thoughtful-yet-horrifying commentary on race relations, Get Out, and the highly anticipated Stephen King adaptation It, The New York Times Magazine recruited a handful of actors to portray characters that prey on our darkest fears.
The actors, as chosen by critics A.O. Scott and Wesley Morris, are the New York Times Magazine's 10 best actors of the year. In addition to Ronan and Chalamet, newcomers like A Fantastic Woman actress Daniela Vega, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish, Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out, and The Florida Project's Brooklynn Prince all contributed a terrifying performance to the series. Also making sure we don't sleep for weeks? Jake Gyllenhaal, Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Nixon, and Andy Serkis.
Each film is silent and evokes larger ideas that have long frightened the masses. Ronan dips into the uncanny valley by portraying a lifelike mannequin. (Or is it a woman who resembles a mannequin? Either way, I hate it.) Her Lady Bird co-star Chalamet, meanwhile, has a taste for human hearts...and martinis with just one human eye.
You may notice that certain short films have shades of the actors' other work. Kidman, in a performance that echoes her creepy role in the 2001 psychological drama The Others, portrays a possessed housewife. Get Out's Kaluuya is more villain than victim this time around, with the body of a murdered woman hiding underneath his bloody hotel bed. (Though it's quite possible she's not really dead after all.) Gyllenhaal hears voices a la his titular character in Donnie Darko.
But what really makes these characters so frightening? The short films are strangely intimate, with many of the actors choosing to stare directly into the camera.
You can watch all the films here. And if you need a horror palate cleanser after watching these shorts, may I suggest a second screening of Lady Bird?