Two Sentence Horror Stories, the horror anthology inspired by the viral two-sentence horror genre from The CW, is the most diverse collection of horror that I have seen. With stories aimed at the now adults who grew up on Are You Afraid of the Dark, each story embodies different subgenres of horror while all using horror to make larger social commentaries. We’ve seen body horror used to exemplify the trauma of sexual assault, Asian horror’s ghost stories to explore intergenerational abuse, and more.
Now, in episode six, “Tutorial,” the series ventures into found footage in a way that gets to the heart of what both makes that form of horror good and bad. In “Tutorial,” we’re introduced to beauty vlogger Karine (Aleyse Shannon) as she records a make-up tutorial, living out every moment of one of YouTube’s largest categories. Words appear on the screen explaining each step, and the constant play bar with a small “dark web” icon immediately tells you that this vlog isn’t what it seems.
Fans of found footage, know to expect twists and to see something disturbing happening in the video, given its label. And “Tutorial” pays off after a knock on the door. While Karine leaves to answer it, we notice someone slip into her room and the tension builds while she applies her make-up and talks to her subscribers. As a figure walks through the house we wait for the shoe to drop, but when it does, it’s not the one we expect.
“Tutorial” offers up the best of found footage in that it utilizes its only three actors effectively and doesn’t detach the cameras. Instead, it offers small windows into the story, one from a computer and two others mounted as security cameras. The story is told concisely and uses its space well while leading into multiple twists throughout the 20-minute runtime, finishing with the creepiest moment of the series so far.
While other episodes offered up social commentary that hit hard, “Tutorial” takes its critique at the social media world in the way other films like Unfriended: Dark Web did, not saying much more than presenting how dangerous a tool the internet can be.
That being said, “Tutorial” does fall into the same trap of found footage in that the actors, play too much to the camera – even when they aren’t supposed to. While this works for Karine, for the intruder, not so much. It’s also clear that it isn’t intentional, but a by-product of needing to use a stationary camera to tell a story.
Even with that, “Tutorial” is my favorite of the six episodes so far. It’s dark, creepy, and Shannon plays Karine extremely well, making you empathetic to her while also scared.
Two Sentence Horror Stories airs Thursdays at 10/9 CST on The CW.
Photos provided by The CW
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.