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The new digital short-form horror platform Red Tower bursts onto the scene with the chilling, practical effects-driven short “Esther”.

RED TOWER is a new genre production company and digital network dedicated to showcasing short-form horror content for a new generation. Loyal readers of this site know how often we evangelize the art of short films and emphasize the importance of short films to the genre. You’ve heard us say many times before that these shorts frequently showcase impressive emerging filmmaking talent and help clue you into the future of the genre before most viewers.

So, of course, we were excited to check out the debut short film release from this promising new distributor. The debut release from Red Tower is a short called ESTHER from director Matt (D.M.) Cunningham (The Spore, 3 Demons).

Red Tower’s goal is to leverage a deep network of the best filmmakers worldwide and bring them online and to genre lovers everywhere.

“We are thrilled to get Red Tower off the ground with our exciting first short, ESTHER, which will set the tone and voice of our digital network,” said co-found Brian Levin.

ESTHER revolves around Katy (Haley Heslip), a woman who has moved back to her childhood home, only to find that a faulty smoke alarm disrupts her nightly sleep. She soon learns that the faulty alarm is the least of her worries as her imaginary friend Esther has come back to play.

Writer/director Cunningham, who also created the FX-heavy titular creature, was inspired to develop the short from a personal experience.

This unsettling, tension-filled short is best viewed at night with the lights off and immersive headphones. 

ESTHER builds effectively to a solid climax, and the practical effects work is outstanding.

Reminiscent of the indie horror hit Lights Out, a successful feature film that first began terrifying audiences as a viral YouTube short, ESTHER boasts a simple but well-executed concept and asks, what if something sinister is behind a relatively innocuous inconvenience?

Is the smoke alarm going off because of a technical malfunction? Is Katy’s mind playing tricks on her? Is she hallucinating from severe psychological trauma (we’re never quite confident in her mental state)? Or has some supernatural evil from her past returned to haunt her?

It all culminates in a satisfyingly nasty ending that will leave you wanting more. And it’s a fantastic debut for the company, founded by Cunningham and fellow filmmaker Brian Levin (Union Bridge), that aims to focus on short-form high-quality/low-cost content — something we love and are so excited to see more of.

Red Tower is currently in production on a slate of short-form horror titles and is set to release new content weekly on its digital platforms, including InstagramYouTube, and TikTok.

Be sure to follow Red Tower for more great horror content, and check out the chilling ESTHER below. 

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