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Western Animation / Sprite Fright

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Spiteful Sprites Delight!
"Not all mushrooms are fun guys."

Sprite Fright is a 2021 animated slasher Horror Comedy and produced as the thirteenth Blender Foundation Open Movie.

A group of rowdy, city-slicking teens set camp in a secluded part of the woods for their biology project. There, they encounter mushroom-like, gnome beings called Sprites who are the peaceful and cheery protectors of the woods. However, as night falls, the campers discover how cruel nature can be.

Due to the movie's short runtime of around ten minutes, spoilers will be left unmarked.

The short film can be watched on YouTube in full here.

Sprite Fright provides examples of:

  • The '80s: Because of the cast's fashion choices, music, and the Sprites being a parody of smurfs, the film could indicate to take place somewhere in the '80s.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The little Sprites appear to be innocent at first, but their looks are deceiving.
  • Affably Evil: The Sprites are friendly and cute towards anyone who treats nature well... and will make no hesitation at killing those who harm the environment, as well as anyone who tries to aid those who do so.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Victoria calls Rex, her boyfriend, "Sugar Buns" who in turn calls her equally mushy nicknames like "Sweet Cakes" and "Love Muffin".
  • All There in the Manual: Although Ellie does look vaguely Asian in the film, her half-Asian ethnicity is only confirmed in the film's production notes on the Blender Foundation website.
  • Alpha Bitch: Victoria comes off throughout the whole short as being dismissive of Ellie and generally self-centered.
  • All Webbed Up: Victoria ends up wrapped in webs like a mummy as poetic justice for the spider she attempted to kill earlier in the short.
  • Androcles' Lion: The bird Ellie helps at the beginning comes back to save her from the Elder Sprite at the last moment.
  • The Bad Guys Win: The Sprites succeed at killing Ellie's classmates, and while Ellie does escape, they were already planning to let her go before she tried to help. The Sprites that were seemingly killed by Ellie are seen happily moving along again at the end of the film. All in all, the Sprites got what they wanted without losing anything, it just took a bit of extra effort.
  • Batter Up!: Rex uses his cricket bat against the Sprites.
  • Beehive Hairdo: Victoria has a multicolored one she constantly maintains with hairspray and is incredibly distraught when the spiders eat it and make her bald.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just when Ellie is about to be killed by the chief Sprite just for trying to save her classmates who mistreated nature, the bird that Ellie saved in the opening saves her by pooping on the chief Sprite's eyes.
  • Big Eater: Phil is always seen munching away on something in every scene he's in and loaded his entire pack with salty snacks so he never runs out. His first thought upon seeing the Sprites was wondering what they would taste like.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: The bird that Ellie saves, in the beginning, returns the favor by pooping in the Elder Sprite's eyes when he tries to kill her, blinding him and allowing Ellie to get away.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The sprites seem cute at first, but are really cruel and murderous creatures.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The bird that Ellie saves in the opening returns the favor by pooping on the eyes of the chief Sprite.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Sprites are not above setting up traps and using the teenagers' own weapons and tools against them.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: The Sprites are one to The Smurfs. They are tiny, friendly and colorful creatures who enjoy nature and are led by a white-bearded elder dressed in red. However, the similarities stop there as they're not above trying to kill people who destroy nature, and even try to kill an innocent nature-loving girl just for trying to free her obnoxious classmates who mistreated the environment.
  • Cute Is Evil: The Sprites appear to be adorable Smurf-like gnomes and are initially friendly. But during the night, they abduct the teens except Ellie to execute them for harming nature. When Ellie tries to save her classmates, the Sprites consider her fair game too.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The various ways the characters die all reflect how they treated the environment around them.
    • Phil is Killed Offscreen and his body is doused in oil and set alight similar to how he accidentally killed some butterflies by lighting the grill.
    • Victoria, Rex's girlfriend who was shown almost killing a spider with hairspray, is killed after being blinded by her hairspray, getting stuck in a web and being All Webbed Up, smothering her to death.
    • Rex, who crushed a snail in the short's establishing shot, is killed shortly after when he's shot with snails and experiences Orifice Invasion.
    • Jay, who urinated on some of the Sprites, gets cornered in a hollow tree that the Sprites fill with urine and drown him in.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: It's clear staying in the forest and trying to fight back means certain death. Still, Victoria, Rex and Ellie are able to fend off the Sprites with their various means, although only Ellie's last her long enough to actually escape.
  • Dies Wide Open: Phil was Killed Offscreen, and this indicates his death to Ellie and the audience.
  • Disguised Horror Story: If you thought this was just a lighthearted Slice of Life comedy story featuring a group of careless jocks who get away with mistreating nature For the Lulz, you would be wrong.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Sprites tried to kill Ellie just for trying to free her classmates.
  • Dissonant Serenity: At the end, the sprites are still marching and singing their happy song while they're bearing the many salt-inflicted injuries from Ellie's assault. Also, the Elder cheerfully said, "Let's burn the bodies and have some peppermint tea!".
  • Don't Celebrate Just Yet: After Ellie escapes the Sprites, including the Elder, she quickly escapes their forest area by running across the tree log bridge... which proceeds to break and fall, threatening to plunge her into the chasm. Fortunately, Ellie uses her waist pouch as a makeshift grappling hook on a tree branch to swing to the other side.
  • Edible Ammunition: Thrown pretzels are surprisingly effective weapons against the sprites, thanks to their weakness to salt.
  • Edible Bludgeon: A Salty Meat Stick slices right through the Sprites like a lightsaber.
  • Exact Words: Elder Sprite lets the campers use the area where the Sprites reside as camping grounds since "A friend of the forest is a friend of the Sprites". Since all the campers except Ellie don't care about and willy-nilly destroy nature, the Sprites found a reason to kill them and spare Ellie (until she tried to rescue her classmates).
  • The Fair Folk: The Sprites appear to be cutesy, nature-loving gnome-like beings, but are all too willing to use lethal force on humans who harm nature.
  • Final Girl: Ellie is the only survivor of the Sprites, manages to kill many of them and escape.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Ellie's four classmates walk across the tree log, it noticeably creaks and sinks a bit. Sure enough, when Ellie walks across it to escape the Sprites' forest, it gives way and almost sends her falling to her death.
    • Phil accidentally spilling salt that dissolves a Sprite's mushroom cap turns out to be the key to finding the Sprites' weakness.
    • Ellie noticing one of the Sprites drag a bloodied shoe into their home hints to us about the Sprites' true nature.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The Sprites are shown to be exceptionally kind to wildlife, with the wildlife being friendly towards them in return. This also means that the spiders and snails are also very willing to help the Sprites kill Victoria and Rex.
  • Green Aesop: Don't treat nature like your own personal rubbish dump, it will come back to haunt you.
    • However, you are part of nature yourself, so you have the right to self-defense by turning on your ancient instincts... Right, Ellie?
  • Jerk Jock: Before the Sprites are shown to be evil, Rex is shown being dismissive and overall cruel towards Ellie and nature as a whole; stepping on a snail and wanting to trap one of the Sprites.
  • Karmic Death: Every member of the teen group save Ellie is killed in either a similar way they mistreated nature, or by the very type of animal they mistreated. Phil, who burned butterflies on the barbecue, is doused in lighter fluid by the same Sprite he accidentally sprinkled salt on, and immolated. Victoria, who sprayed a spider with insecticide, is killed by being webbed up and suffocated by spiders. Rex, who callously crushed a snail, is killed by having a snail enter his ear and choked by a large one shot into his mouth. Jay, who urinated on the Sprites, is killed by getting trapped in a hole and urinated upon by the Sprites until he drowns.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Ellie on the other hand has her good deeds repay her, as the Yellow Wagtail Ellie rescued from the six pack ring at the beginning of the short gives back later on, blinding Elder Sprite via Bird-Poop Gag just before he could land a killing blow on Ellie with her own pocket knife.
  • Killed Offscreen: Phil and an unknown trespasser's deaths aren't shown onscreen.
  • Left the Background Music On: The '80s inspired music when the teenagers are setting up camp and during the chase sequence was provided by Jay's boombox.
  • Lilliputians: The Sprites are adorable, little mushroom gnomes who are only three apples high. However, their adorableness goes out the window once night falls for the campers.
  • Made of Plasticine: The Sprites are very easily dismembered by salted foods. Potato chips and pretzels carve into them like huge shurikens, pretzel sticks impale them through, and swinging a salted meat stick cuts them in half like nobody's business. This contrasts their reactions to other weapons, such as Rex's bat sending one flying into the distance (but still fully intact), or Victoria's hairspray merely knocking them away.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Several of the Sprites who survived Ellie are happily dancing and singing back to their home, while sporting very grievous injuries. This includes one completely impaled by loads of pretzel sticks and one who's reduced to a head and arms, dragging itself across the ground.
  • Mickey Mousing: The scene of Rex trying to kill a Sprite that's popping in and out of a log like a whack-a-mole game is timed so his swings are synced to the background music.
  • Mook Horror Show: Once Ellie discovers the Sprites' weakness to salt, she turns the tables on the Sprites, massacring them by the numbers with nothing but salted snacks. Most of the Sprites quickly go from sporting a malicious grin to an Oh, Crap! expression as they're maimed and killed.
  • Mushroom Man: The Sprites are small green-skinned humanoids with mushroom caps on their heads. They're described as if "a gnome shagged a mushroom" by Jay, whose bucket hat and lanky body structure make him resemble a mushroom himself.
  • Mugging the Monster: Rex, Victoria, Phil, and Jay go out into the Sprites' clearing to catch one in a jar. When Ellie finds the four, they're all Bound and Gagged, with the Sprites preparing to immolate Phil's already-dead body.
    Rex: We were just gonna catch one! But they're psycho!
  • Nameless Narrative: All of the characters except Phil (the fat guy) go nameless throughout the story with their names only being found in behind-the-scenes documentation.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: What the Sprites and most of the critters represent. They are small, and can accidentally be overlooked, but mistreat them and they will destroy you.
  • Nature Lover: Ellie. She's interested in only cataloging what she finds and isn't destructive to nature around her. This is possibly the reason she survives.
  • Nice Girl: Ellie is a friendly person overall and the only one nice towards nature. She even avoids trying to kill the Sprites until they refuse to back down, after which she uses lethal force via salted snacks to defend herself.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Ellie's classmates are all killed by the Sprites. However, Ellie survived thanks to her love of nature, salty weapons to kill the sprites, the bird saving her from being killed by the chief sprite, and Ellie using her waist pouch to escape the falling tree log bridge. By destroying the tree log bridge between her home and the home of the sprites, no future passengers would enter the Sprites' home and get killed by them. Also, the sprites that were seemingly killed were shown to still be alive but without certain limbs implying that they can grow them back.
  • Pet the Dog: The Sprites leave Ellie alone instead of capturing and killing her because she never mistreated nature. That is until she tried to free her classmates.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: The closing credits show all of the campers' belongings becoming one with the forest, with Sprites and animals making their homes there.
  • Salt Solution: Salt dissolves the Sprites. This becomes important later on as it allows Ellie to fight back against the Sprites.
  • Scary Teeth: The Sprites at nighttime have serrated teeth when attempting to murder the campers.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: The animation style is overall very cutesy and the Sprites look like The Smurfs, but the characters are a lot more foul-mouthed than in a typical cartoon, and all of the teenage characters save for Ellie, the nature-loving girl die horrible deaths. A lot of commenters lampshade this as a result.
    YouTube commenter: "Oh, what a cool nature movie!"
    "Oh, it’s about saving the environment."
    "Oh, it’s about fungus creatures."
    "Oh, it’s about murder."
    Another YouTube commenter: "I love how this story turned from respecting nature to mushroom smurfs committing war crimes within one minute."
  • Super Drowning Skills: Jay exclaims he can't swim when the Sprites are filling up the hole he's hiding in with piss. He drowns the moment the liquid reaches over his head.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "You picked the wrong camping spot, bitches."
  • Token Good Teammate: Ellie. The fact that she's the only Nice Girl among her Jerkass classmates is why the Sprites don't immediately catch her in an inescapable death trap unlike the others, allowing her the chance to escape.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In one night in a fairy-tale forest, Ellie turns from a sweet and timid schoolgirl into a desperate and unstoppable survivalist...
  • Traumatic Haircut:
    • After getting stuck in the web, Victoria ends up having her hair eaten by spiders to her horror. It doesn't last too long, as she's quickly killed off after that.
    • Ellie is forced to chop off her hair to free herself when it got caught by the sprites.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Ellie and Victoria are the only girls out of the campers.
  • Urine Trouble: Jay pisses on a dormant Sprite early on, knocking the ladybug on top off. The Sprites kill him by peeing on him while he's trapped in a tree log, drowning him in their urine.
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: The Sprites use the humans' tools against them if given the chance. They turn Victoria's hairspray on her to blind her and lead her into a spider web and steal Ellie's Swiss army knife, which the Elder Sprite later attempts to kill her with.
  • [Verb] This!: Rex shouts "Sprite this!" at one point when batting them away with his cricket bat.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Sprites are vulnerable to salt and quickly dissolve in contact with it. This makes several kinds of junk food lethal on contact with them, easily melting their bodies apart.
  • Wham Shot: After the friendly-looking Sprites introduce themselves, Ellie notices two of them trying to drag away a discarded trainer with bloodstains on it, indicating that they're not as friendly as they seem...
  • Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: The Sprites' normally white eyes glow ominously yellow in the dark to reveal their true nature as murderous little gremlins.
  • Zerg Rush: The Sprites' main method of combat. One Sprite alone is merely a nuisance, but their massive numbers along with their cruelty, usage of environment, opportunistic usage of their opponents' weapons, and equally large numbers of critter allies make them a formidable threat capable of killing off Ellie's classmates and nearly killing Ellie.


Video Example(s):


Sprite Fright

The sprites' flesh dissolves upon contact with salt, allowing Ellie to fight back against them by using salty foods as weapons.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SaltSolution

Media sources: