A BETTER LIFE
Director: Conor Holt
Starring: Aimee Klein, Hardy Koenig, Bill Siderski
Diane (Klein) can't seem to let go of her husband as she must face some life alternating decisions. Bill (Siderski) is now in a comatose state and time will only tell when and if he shall awake. In a radical new medical breakthrough, she decides to have a chip implanted into his brain that can control his motor skills. She has control of his movements via a remote in hopes that activity and movement may wake him up.
A Better Life is the third short film I saw that was presented at festival. The film poses some interesting medical and ethical questions regarding loved ones that are faced with a family member in a comatose state. The marriage shifts for Diane and Bill as the line between treating him like a husband instead of a robot starts to get blurry. Sometimes short films try to cover too much ground in such a short time period where it in turns feels rushed and chaotic. Even by telling the story in a non-linear style, Holt is able to keep it tight and on point. He knows exactly what part of this story he wants to tell. There is enough material that the film could easily be expanded into a full feature. The ending leaves you wanting more after a shift in events makes wonder what could happen if this carried on. What would happen to Bill and Diane after a few months? Years? What would the people in Diane's life have to say to her about her choice?
RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
THEY WILL OUTLIVE US ALL
Director: Patrick Shearer
Starring: Jessi Gotta, Nat Cassidy, Alyssa Simon
I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few horror films in the line up for the 2013 Twin Cities Film Fest. After a lukewarm response to We Are What We Are and the wretched Truth or Dare, I was skeptical about seeing another amateur horror flick. Margot (Gotta) and her good friend Daniel (Cassidy) are living in a rundown Brooklyn apartment in a post-Hurricane Sandy world. Three people have mysteriously died in their apartment and something seems to be severely wrong with their superintendent. During another one of the movie nights, the power goes out and a giant cockroach decides to pay them a visit. It is Brooklyn after all. Like a bunch of hurricanes are going to stop those little critters.
Shearer's film really feels and looks like a low budget amateur horror comedy. Don't roll your eyes quite yet. The film has a lot of potential, but feels a bit incomplete at its present state. Gotta's screenplay is a mixed bag of comedy moments and campy horror. There is some fun banter between the two characters in their discovery that something bizarre is happening in their apartment. You can tell there is a friendship and history between them. The giant cockroaches are somehow funny and gross at the same time and adds some good physical comedy routines for Margot and Daniel. While the ground work is here, neither the comedy nor the horror is strong enough at this point. I am curious if there will be any more life to this film later on. At only 73 minutes long, I wonder if they would expand the story and flesh it out more with a bigger budget.
RATING: ** 1/2 (2.5 out of 5 stars)