Is This Viral Found Footage Horror Short the Scariest Video on the Internet?
The Backrooms might just be the scariest video on the internet.
YouTube horror short film The Backrooms has gone wildly viral since its release, especially in the online horror community, with many praising its disorienting atmosphere and creepy visuals.
Uploaded to YouTube on Jan. 7, the 9-minute independent horror short by 16-year-old director and VFX artist Kane Parsons, a.k.a. Kane Pixels, taps into the mysterious concept of liminal spaces and packs a cosmic horror punch.
Reminiscent of the V/H/S horror anthology franchise thanks to its DIY, just-dug-this-dusty-unmarked-VHS-tape-out-of-mom's-attic aesthetic, The Backrooms genuinely looks like a recording that was never meant to be found — which is exactly why we had to watch it.
Watch Kane Parsons' Short Horror Film The Backrooms:
Unsettling and cryptic, The Backrooms has mystified horror lovers on the internet who are eager for original content that isn't a legacy horror franchise remake or sequel, or an entry in The Conjuring universe.
“This was the first time in literal months that I was actually scared of something on the internet,” one viewer commented on YouTube after watching the short.
"The scariest thing about this is rounding the corners. Not being able to know what’s lurking on the other side, waiting for you. That to me is truly the worst anxiety to ever experience," another wrote.
What Is The Backrooms About?
The Backrooms is about a cameraman who, after tripping and presumably getting knocked unconscious while working on what seems to be an independent film project, wakes up in a bizarre, seemingly inescapable and deserted building.
Confronted with endless corridors, empty rooms and hallways mostly illuminated by sickly yellow corporate lighting, the cameraman wanders aimlessly until he comes across a strange graffitied message on a wall: "Don't move ... Stay still," he reads aloud.
Suddenly, a horrifying creature making an even more horrifying sound (think: a warped, nightmare version of the '90s AOL dial-up tone) appears. It begins to the stalk the cameraman room by room as he attempts to navigate a maze of hallways, stairs and liminal spaces that seem to lead nowhere.
The Backrooms appears to take place in the early '90s.
What Are Liminal Spaces?
According to the "LiminalSpace" community on Reddit, a subforum where users share photos and images of liminal spaces, a liminal space represents "the time between the 'what was' and the 'next.' It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing."
You've probably seen or been in a liminal space before: It's the foggy, deserted mall parking lot at night, illuminated by blue streetlamps; it's the abandoned movie theater with the dirty neon carpet and endless rows of dark, numbered theaters; it's the empty hotel corridor, stretching on and on, making you feel like you'll never reach your room.
These environments are said to feel "off," like places you shouldn't linger in for long. They're also places that are sometimes meant to connect people to a proper destination — think: stairwells, hallways, parking lots, vast empty rooms, etc.
What Is the Creature in The Backrooms?
Similar to viral cryptid figures such as Siren Head or Slender Man, the monster in The Backrooms is just humanoid enough to trigger the uncanny valley, while its twisted, lanky figure adds a menacing touch.
Like most creatures in cosmic horror — a horror sub-genre that taps into the fear of the incomprehensible — the creepy, nightmarish monster in The Backrooms is of unknown origin.
Two things are for sure, though: The thing lurking in The Backrooms is not of this world, and it doesn't seem friendly!