Anthologies aren’t always as appreciated as their creators want them to be, and in the case of 2-Sentence Horror Stories on Netflix, the divide between critics and the fans is kind of to be expected. The idea of short horror movies that last 30 minutes or less and are predicated on two key sentences can turn some people off since a lot of fans want exposition, they want a full explanation of the story, and the short style that this anthology operates around is hard for some people to take in since it involves diving into the story, paddling a couple of times, and then backing out of it almost just as quickly. It’s a jolt to the system for some people that’s not unlike the jerking motion that can be felt on a rollercoaster that breaks down just before taking the plunge, but without the payoff for all that tension. That’s how it might feel to some people anyway since it’s not the drawn-out type of horror that a lot of people are used to and are there to see more often than not. Short horror movies are those that draw people in and then expel them not too long after, and whether a person has understood everything they’ve seen or not isn’t important, it’s the fact that the story has been told and that it’s time to move on to the next one.
It’s kind of easy to figure out why some folks might not like this style, since the 2 sentences that are used to highlight or bracket the story might appear to say everything that needs to be said, while everything that comes in between might be seen as pure filler and not at all necessary. But the genius of a 2-sentence horror movie is that many people can’t comprehend the concept since the whole idea of being able to tell a story in such a short bit of writing shouldn’t be humanly possible. People are typically used to description, buildup, tension, story, and everything else that goes into the telling of a horror tale. Many folks want to see something that’s going to last long enough to guide them in and then back out of the shadows safe and sound with their sanity intact. A short horror movie implies that things are going to get terrifying very quickly and possibly more confusing than anyone in their right mind is going to be able to process with so little time. That’s the trick though, to get out of your right mind and simply let it happen. Some people can do this with little to no effort and can process a short story without fail as they take in what they need to see and hear and use the rest as a type of background to accentuate the more important material. Others need that extra time in order to process everything and attempt to fall back on logic a little too often, which isn’t always the best move with short stories, since they often require a person to simply grasp what’s happening at the moment, and not worry too much about the variables that they can’t control.
One reason why 2-Sentence Horror Stories works is that it shocks the system and can weed out those that are going to be put off by the sudden, quick-paced stories and entertain those that are able to accept and assimilate the story they’re being given and then move on to the next and do the same. It’s kind of obvious that those that either can’t bring themselves to grasp that much information in that short of time are going to speak out against the show, or are going to find ways to state that it’s less than effective. Then again, some folks aren’t really horror fans and might try it out to see if it’s any better than a full-length horror movie only to find that they’re still not into it. Those that do happen to like the anthology however aren’t any better or worse, they’re not smarter or less intelligent, but they are able to process the stories in a much quicker manner and find some value in them. Short horror is difficult to take sometimes since it has to come to a point very quickly or stay purposefully vague and challenge the audience to make up their own minds as to what’s going to happen, what has happened, and what might still be about to happen thanks to the time constraints. This could be another reason why some people don’t care for it, since they want the story to tell itself, they don’t want to have to do the work. But overall, 2-Sentence Horror Stories are great largely because they are a challenge and the imagination that’s condensed into each tale is amazing.