From Hansel and Gretel to The Blair Witch Project, if hundred’s of years of storytelling have taught us anything, it’s that bad things live in the woods. So when a quintet of young party-loving teenagers (and one “tree hugger”) journey into an isolated forest, you’re expecting bad things to happen. Sprite Fright isn’t your typical Slasher movie though, created in Blender, this 10-minute animation starts off quite jauntily and a quarter of the way in we’re introduced to some adorable mushroom-headed sprites. Maybe this band of adolescent explorers won’t all die a horrible death? Or will they?
If I was to tell you that director Matthew Luhn’s inspiration for Sprite Fright came from his “love for 80’s horror/supernatural films, like Gremlins“, you’ve probably already worked out the direction this action-packed short will take. That’s right, those sprites are evil as f*ck and looking to reap revenge on those that disrespect their beautiful woodland home – cue the carnage!
And what awesome carnage it is. After spending the opening four minutes introducing us to its array of characters, Sprite Fright launches into full-on action mode as the humans and sprites go head-to-head in an epic battle royale. As the funghi-topped forest dwellers find ever imaginative ways of disposing of their ill-mannered visitors (drowned in sprite urine being my personal favourite), the “dorkwad” of the group finds a salty way to fight back.
“We wanted to tell an entertaining story and push Blender’s 3D technology further”
The latest Blender Open Movie (it’s been a few years since we last featured one), Luhn reveals his aims were two-fold when he set out to create Sprite Fright. “We wanted to tell an entertaining story and push Blender’s 3D technology further, in the pursuit of a fresh and appealing visual style”, the director explains. Well, he certainly met both of those objectives, as his short is riotous fun and looks great too.
As is the way with all of these Blender shorts, the studio shares all the production files from the film and the team have published plenty of insight on the blog, if you want to take a deeper dive into the making of the film. In particular, there are some great tips from lead animator Rik Schutte, including a fun motto of “animate drunk, polish sober“ (he doesn’t mean literally drunk) and the importance of training your “animation eyes”. He even shares the film’s style guide – but you need to be a subscriber to access this.
If Sprite Fright ticks the boxes off what you look for in an animated short, it’s well worth checking out the rest of the Blender Open Movies and if you want more 3D animation, you can check out our dedicated channel.