Gaslighting Takes a Gory Turn in Horror Short Upstairs

A family's youngest daughter realizes she's perfectly sane... but everyone around her is most certainly not.

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A young woman looking frustrated
Screenshot: YouTube

Writer-director Phillip Trow’s short Upstairs is tense from the start, as a mom and two of her two adult children await the arrival of the family’s other daughter, who’s bringing her boyfriend to meet them for the first time. A sense of dread hangs heavily over the table, and it only increases as the meal continues.

To say much more would spoil this horror short before you watch it, but let’s just say the family’s campaign to make younger daughter Jennifer (Sorcha Groundsell) believe she’s mentally unstable feels distinctly fishy as hell from the beginning. But why? What are they hiding? What’s the real story behind that recent family tragedy? And why shouldn’t their dinner guest dare to venture upstairs?

Horror Short Film “Upstairs” | ALTER

Here’s the official description of this short, which io9 found on YouTube horror platform Alter: “Jennifer Saint finally receives validation that she’s not delusional when her late father reaches out from beyond the grave to confirm that their dark family secret is in fact the truth.”


The build-up is great—that look the twins exchange when the boyfriend agrees to “nip upstairs”—and the payoff is excellent. You almost wish the YouTube thumbnail didn’t give away the gruesome twist, but it’s also an effective tease to let you know that terrors are indeed waiting at the end of Upstairs. Look how happy she is! 

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