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Netflix original Don’t Watch This is a collection of bite-size horror stories promising to scare and shock in equal doses. As someone who regularly watches short films on YouTube, Netflix appeared to have cracked the formula, collecting 6 bite-size horror shorts and showcasing them on the platform. Unfortunately, this collection of horror stories are poorly assembled, cobbled together with lacklustre writing and a grand total of one genuinely unnerving moment through its short run time.
For those unaware of the formula, generally a short can run anywhere between 1 and 15 minutes, squeezing a cohesive three-act story in during this time. There are numerous examples on YouTube of effectively crafted films that have done this, even horrors, with one of the more prolific examples going viral a few years back and eventually turned into 2016’s feature film Lights Out.
As an anthology, Don’t Watch This has little substance and aside from them all being horror themed, have barely anything cohesive tying them all together. The first episode is the longest and sees a social recluse at school inviting two popular kids to her house for her birthday where things inevitably go awry. The second sees a mysterious creature stalking the dark web while the third plays out like a poorly constructed Ring video complete with upsetting and cringe-inducing imagery. The fourth episode is arguably the best with a slow building horror as two boys explore an abandoned house while the fifth is by far the worst and a pretty poor way to finish the series.
Although the episodes are less than 10 minutes long, there really isn’t anything particularly endearing or noteworthy on display. The episodes lack lasting power, have barely any scares and aside from a few gory and cringe-inducing scenes fail to inject any life into this series. It’s hard to know where to start with this series but the title may be the best place to begin and end this one. Don’t Watch This.