The 10 Best Movies Based On Short Films, According To Reddit

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is one of the quickest movies of the year, as the animated film is about a sentient shell who acts like a human, and Isabella Rossellini improvised much of the dialogue. The A24 movie is actually based is based on the short film series of the same name, which is available to watch on YouTube, and it isn’t the first movie that’s adapted from a short film.

Redditors have debated which are the best movies based on short films, and they’ve given some insight into the films too. Whether it was made as a joke between celebrity friends or to get funding for a feature-length movie, these short films were the beginnings of much bigger blockbuster hits.


The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead was already shot on a shoestring budget, and in some cases, it shows, but WetLogPassage points out that the film is based on a much smaller film that director Sam Raimi has previously shot. The Redditor mentions, “Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is based on his short film Within the WoodsThe 1978 short is more of an extended short film, as it’s over 30 minutes, but it doesn’t feature the horror franchise’s signature comedy.

However, according to Indie Movie Hustlethe film was more like a commercial than anything, as it was made with the intention of selling the concept of The Evil Dead to investors. It’s one of the cleverest ways to get a movie greenlit and funded, and, interestingly, even Within the Woods is based on an even shorter short film that Raimi had already made, which was called clockwork.

Boogie Nights (1997)

Chadisdangerous notes that one of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s early masterpieces, Boogie Nights, is based on a short film. The Redditor explains, “It was based on a short that PTA made in the 80s called The Dirk Diggler Story.

The short film was more of a comedy, and it’s completely unlike the grueling and emotionally exhausting 1997 drama that depicted the dark corners of the adult film industry in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Some of the traumatic shots found in the feature-length film are impossible to forget, and it’s hardly surprising that the film almost got an NC-17 rating.

Machete (2010)

Low-Cantaloupe9426 asks, “Does Machete count?” The Redditor is referring to the fake trailer that was attached to filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s double feature project, grind house. The trailer depicted a Mexican mercenary, and there are no prizes for guessing what his signature weapon is.

Three years after the grind house project, Machete surprisingly arrived, and it was just as schlocky and fun as the trailer promised, and it even bravely kept the grindhouse aesthetic too. But the series doubled down, as the end of Machete had another fake trailer, this time for the sequel, Machete Killswhich once again arrived in 2013. But even though Robert Rodriquez is seemingly a man of his word, fans are still waiting for Machete Kills Again… in Spacewhich was teased at the end of the 2013 movie.

This Is The End (2013)

This Is the End is one of the funniest movies about the apocalypse, as it follows a group of famous actors who play exaggerated versions of their real-life selves, and each and every one of them is selfish and bad-mannered. However, it wasn’t a completely original concept, as Little_Setting notes that it’s one of the best movies based on a short film.

The Redditor is almost offended by the other users, commenting, “No one even mentioned 2013s This Is the End. Seth Rogen made this short first.” Rogen and Jay Baruchel made the short Jay and Seth vs. the Apocalypse. But it’s a bare-bones 10-minute short with not much of a plot, as it certainly doesn’t see the two actors facing off against the apocalypse; the 2013 movie vastly builds on the premise.

Boiling Point (2022)

Boiling Point has gone completely under the radar, as it was released at the beginning of 2022, and has gotten almost no fanfare whatsoever. However, that could be down to the fact that it’s a micro-budget indie movie that seemingly had no marketing budget. The Stephen Graham-starring movie follows a head chef of a London restaurant during the busiest night of the year, and it’s a great movie where absolutely anything and everything goes wrong.

The movie’s USP is that it is all filmed in one shot, there’s no camera trickery or hidden cuts, and the 90-minute performance is an incredible feat. Bodymaster notes that the film was originally a short film, that was helmed by director Philip Barantini, and the short film saw Graham in the main role too.

Heat (1995)

Anonymousotron42 notes that heat is based on a release that arrived six years earlier, noting, “heat is based on an earlier TV movie named LA Takedown.” The Redditor is taking liberties with the term “short film,” as LA Takedown is a 90-minute long TV movie. However, given that heat is a three-hour crime epic, the original is relatively short.

according to Radiator Heavendirector Michael Mann originally planned for LA Takedown to be a long-running TV series, and the movie was the pilot episode, but as the network didn’t pick the series up, it was repackaged into a TV movie. The 1995 movie might even get a sequel soon, as Michael Mann just released Heat 2a novel sequel to heat.

Saw (2004)

the saw films have got bigger and more complex with each consecutive release, and that concept has now become a huge billion-dollar franchise, which is amazing considering that it’s all based on a $5000 short film. A tenth saw is on the way too, which fans hope will be a return to form.

DVDJunky notes that the phenomenally successful torture porn movie saw was based on a short film. according to IGNjust like what Raimi did to fund The Evil Dead, Leigh Whannell simply created the seven-minute short film to promote the spec script, and it’s simply a scene from the screenplay. And it worked, as Twisted Pictures quickly picked up the film after being impressed by the short.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

NoDisintegrationz recalls Napoleon Dynamite, the random oddball 2004 movie starring Jon Heder and directed by Jared Hess. The Redditor mentions, “I’d never seen Peluca until this thread. I really enjoyed seeing how everything was scrambled into the feature.”

The quirky teen comedy is based on a short film that Hess directed two years earlier called Pelucawhich features that typical weird Napoleon Dynamite Humour. Heder is even in the main role in the short too, only his name in the nine-minute film is Seth instead of Nepolean, but the characters are almost identical.

District 9 (2009)

While director Neill Blomkamp will be directing the upcoming blockbuster video game movie Gran Turismohis directorial debut was the very different low-budget sci-flick District 9. Reddit user Ergotnometry explains that the beloved movie is actually based on a short film. The Redditor recalls, “Based on Alive in Joburg, which was a lot heavier-handed about the analogy between apartheid South Africa and aliens in South Africa.”

Blomkamp directed Alive in Joburg three years before the cult classic, and it features all the elements that fans love about the 2009 release, including the documentary-style approach and the alien designs. It also heavily featured the social commentary on the racial conflict present in South Africa.

Hard Eight

It seems as if PT Anderson often tests out initial movie concepts with short films, as, along with Boogie Nightshis directorial debut Hard Eight was also based on a short film. ZorroMeansFox points out that it’s one of the best movies based on a short film, noting, “Paul Thomas Anderson’s Hard Eight (aka Sydney) developed from his short Cigarettes & Coffee.”

The 1993 short doesn’t have exactly the same premise as Hard Eight, but they’re both full of gambling, deceit, and, of course, cigarettes and coffee. And along with sharing the same themes, both the short and the theatrical film feature Philip Baker Hall as a seasoned gambler.

NEXT: 10 Facts Fans May Not Know About Paul Thomas Anderson’s Movies

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