‘Animal Crossing’ becomes nightmare fuel in this short film set for feature development

When three roommates created a short horror film with an insidious take on Animal Crossing during quarantine, they didn’t expect its SXSW selection to result in a feature film.

Animal Crossing isn’t typically the first game to come to mind when you picture horror – your mind’s more likely to go to famed survival horror titles like Silent Hill or Resident Evil. That might be about to change though, with Julian Terry’s short horror film, which features the game as a prominent plot device, being picked up for production as a feature film.

No, you did not misread that. A fully-fledged Animal Crossing horror movie could indeed be heading to a cinema near you.

animal crossing horror
Screenshot: Don’t Peek

Don’t Peek is a six-minute film all about a monster trying to escape an Animal Crossing island and enter the real world. It’s been on YouTube since October 2020, but just premiered at SXSW Online, so you know it’s legit.

Writer, director, editor and producer of the film, Julian Terry, wrote in the YouTube video’s description that it was made during quarantine with only three people and a Blackmagic pocket camera. Far from these humble beginnings, the project has now reportedly signed Wanted director and Hardcore Henry producer Timur Bekmambetov to develop the feature film.

Terry described his inspiration behind the unsettling story; which was created during the ongoing pandemic to release energy:

“I was playing Animal Crossing late one night and happened to freak myself out by a shape at the foot of my bed. I wanted to capture that feeling.”

The short film follows an unnamed young woman, portrayed by his real-life girlfriend Katie C’etta, who discovers that whatever she does in the world of Animal Crossing comes to life in her actual bedroom. Sounds pretty fun, right?


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Wrong. Things start going downhill quickly when the woman spies the silhouette of a grotesque monster in the doorway of her innocent villager’s home. From that moment, it’s pretty clear that she’s fucked.

If you already suffer nightmares induced by the never-ending misery of capitalist overlord Tom Nook’s authoritarian regime, this film is bound to ramp up the fear factor to whole new levels. At least the Animal Crossing universe’s corrupt economic system didn’t involve literal demons (or any politics, apparently). Well, until now anyways.

The filmmakers have emphasised the fact that Don’t Peek is a non-profit film that is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, Nintendo or Animal Crossing; so it’s hard to say to what extent the game will be featured in the movie (though it’s hard to imagine Nintendo approving). There’s also no word on how the plot will be fleshed out into a full film. Although it’s certainly less hard to imagine all sorts of spooky shenanigans now that I’ve seen this short film.

Check out Don’t Peek on YouTube if you dare to let the sweet, pure world of Animal Crossing turn a little bit horrific. But maybe avoid playing in the dark for a while.