Special Day: “Terrifying” short film explained

Cameron Frew
A still from Special Day, a horror short filmYouTube: ALTER

Special Day has been “terrifying” horror fans on TikTok – so, here’s a breakdown of the short film and where you can watch it on streaming.

The streaming wars seem obvious from an overview: several companies are constantly vying for our direct debits, with Netflix reigning high and mighty above Prime Video, Disney Plus, Max, Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount Plus.

However, there’s a battle nobody seems to be talking about: Netflix vs. TikTok, with the latter platform attracting viewership on a scale hitherto undreamt of every single day.

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Special Day is a great example: it’s a relatively humble short film that dropped online with little fanfare in 2019, but now it’s being watched by thousands of people online – all because it was shared on TikTok.

Special Day horror short film explained

A still from Special DayYouTube: ALTER

Special Day ends with Emily and many members of her family dying in an earthquake, hence the sudden arrival of the Sentinels as the room starts to shake.

The short film revolves around Emily’s 18th birthday, a significant day in any person’s life – but especially in her family. Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins; everyone is there with bordering-on-sinister smiles stretched across their faces.

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Her dad tells her that she’ll go on to achieve greatness thanks to the family’s gift, which only reveals itself when someone turns 18. It’s a Sentinel, a lanky, frightening man who’s the embodiment of death; he should be far away in the distance at first, but each step closer to you means you’re nearing the day you’ll die. “Your Sentinel is the measure of the length of your life,” her mom explains.

Emily’s family sees that knowledge as a blessing, but she refuses to believe it at first – especially since he’s already in the room with her. As her mother turns round, she hears her own Sentinel’s raspy shriek behind her, and other Sentinels appear in the room.

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The shaking intensifies, and as the film cuts to black, we hear car alarms, the sound of rubble falling, and emergency sirens wailing outside.

In a statement to Short of the Week, the film’s writer Nikolai von Keller said it was inspired by “our collective desire to explore the horror space. Both Teal [Greyhavens] and I love horror, especially concept-based horror, and we wanted to see if we could produce a horror short that revolved around an interesting premise, as well as one that had the requisite jump scare but also maintained a sense of dread and rising tension throughout.

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“We’re both drawn to broader questions about fate and predestination, and we thought tying that to a (mostly) stationary but nightmarish figure could give audiences a really rewarding horror experience.”

How to watch Special Day

Special Day is available to watch in its entirety on YouTube for free. You can check it out below:

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, Oscars enthusiast, and a staunch Scot. He earned a First-Class Honours Degree in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, accredited by the NCTJ and BJTC. He began his career at UNILAD, starting as a Junior Journalist and becoming Entertainment Editor prior to joining Dexerto. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.