While short film fans may be upset that the format doesn’t get as much coverage here at Flickfeast I can say this much (and am speaking for myself, not the site or everyone else on it): there are just SO many out there vying for an audience while I focus on the features and, equally important, it’s a lot harder to review a short film without revealing any plot point or detail that may spoil someone else’s enjoyment of it.
So why review this one? Two reasons. It’s long enough (about 23 minutes) to review without spoiling everything.
And it’s bloody fantastic.
Writer-director Bill Palmer was in attendance at the 2011 Dead By Dawn festival and was an absolute delight despite the fact that he was trying to cram an Edinburgh experience into 3 days that would wear people out if they had a full week free. I hope it was all worth it for him and I hope others keep an eye out for this film playing anywhere nearby.
From a title sequence that calls to mind Zombieland and prompts laughs straight away through to the middle section of the film all the way to a great little coda, The Living Want Me Dead starts off at full speed and never lets up for a single second of it’s 23 minute runtime.
The premise is all about a young man (played by Adam Conger) who finds himself being viciously attacked by anyone who gets close enough to him. There’s just something about him that sets off a vomiting fit that then turns into a rage fit with anyone affected wanting him dead. Perhaps it’s all to do with that little job he took for some spare cash on the lead up to Christmas. While trying to figure everything out, he heads to a friend’s place and has to explain everything while making sure that the two don’t actually stay in the same space.
Written, directed, co-produced and edited by Bill Palmer (hell, the guy probably even made the sandwiches most days), this short packs more into it than 100 features I could name from the past 5 years. It’s got some great action thrills in there but the main selling point is the comedy with nearly every single line being comedy gold.
The killer material is buoyed by the performances, with the two leads (Conger and the Jack Black-like Tony Nunes) brilliantly sparking off each other and showing fantastic comic timing.
As long as you can handle seeing some fake vomiting (and it’s done in such an over the top manner that it’s not anything majorly stomach-churning) then I defy you not to enjoy this if you’re a genre fan with a good sense of humour. There are nods to Re-Animator, a random and hilarious mention of Total Recall and a spoof of Lynx/Axe ads that is all the more hilarious for being so bloody close to the mark under the layer of humour.
I want to watch this again and I want all of my friends to see it so that we can randomly quote some of the one-liners and laugh in a knowing manner. If there’s any justice then Bill Palmer will be going on to provide audiences with much, much more because calling cards don’t come much better than this.
DIRECTOR: BILL PALMER
STARS: ADAM CONGER, TONY NUNES
RUNTIME: 23 MINS APPROX