Directed By: #ChrisQuick
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Do you like surreal comedies involving foul-mouthed Scottish hand-puppets, sex and excessive cereal consumption? Well you’re in luck because there just so happens that there is a filmmaker out there who not only shares your unique tastes but has now blessed us with two such films of his own.
Autumn Never Dies is, as the film affectionately calls itself, “the sequel to the film you probably didn’t see”. That film being the 2012 venture The Greyness of Autumn, an off-the wall black comedy featuring ostrich puppet Danny, whose life spirals wildly out of control after losing his job and the love of his life Katie (not a puppet) in the same day, and his lodger/friend Nelson (a monkey puppet) who spends nearly all of his time eating cornflakes, watching porn and generally being a dick to everyone. The original film gained something of a cult following upon its release after a rather successful Kickstarter campaign, a sequel was green-lit, thus giving us Autumn Never Dies.
The sequel picks up right after the conclusion of its predecessor. Danny is now in therapy, having attempted to take his own life after his aforementioned downward spiral, and his friend Nelson is trying in his own unique way to help him get his confidence back, starting of course with speed dating and pub quizzes. This is where Danny meets Lizzie (also not a puppet), who seems to be the woman for him. But just as his life is getting back on track, Danny’s ex Katie comes back asking forgiveness, and now Danny finds himself with an incredible decision to make.
There is a striking difference in tone between the two Autumn instalments. Where the first film was much more sombre and quite bleak in its approach albeit still with a certain crude charm. Autumn Never Dies is a much lighter affair, with a few new faces and greater emphasis on the laughs while also turning up the dial on the naughtiness (this will probably be the first time you’ve seen the silhouette of a woman and an ostrich puppet having relations). The first film also contained a kind of social commentary around discrimination, showing the challenges the puppets faced trying to exist within a human world but this has all but disappeared in this instalment, which is actually for the best as this then allows the film to become a more stripped-back, focused endeavour and as a result is a tighter, better-paced comedy.
“The balloon burst”
There are some brilliant cut away gags to enjoy, as well as some snappy one-liners, most of which it must be said are given to Chris Quick’s outrageous Nelson. It also makes full use of the barbed sense of humour which is unique to the Glaswegian tongue, always equal parts aggressive, funny and unapologetically direct. Some jokes don’t land like they should; while it generally tends to lean more towards the smarter stylings of its distant cousin Bojack Horseman, there are moments that feel more like the random stupidity of a Family Guy episode. But what it does have (and needs) in absolute spades is a hundred-percent commitment from the cast, especially the human characters, whose belief in the project is absolute which allows us to buy into it as well.
Personally, it would be nice to see these characters come back again either in similar fashion or even in a short series format. Autumn Never Dies is an acquired taste to be sure but you just need to go with it. And while you’ll probably come out the other side still slightly bewildered, you will be sure to have a few good laughs along the way.
Watch the trailer here: