Directed by: #HarryMetcalfe
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Death sucks. There’s no two ways about it. Although one can imagine dying might become all the more frustrating when you discover that after your demise, you find that you still have to go to work, employed in a position helping others pass through to the other side no less.
Such is the unique premise of silly comedy short Becoming Grim. Libby (White) is a young woman not exactly living her best life, but far from being a completely lost cause either. After an incident one fateful day in a coffee shop, Libby finds that not only has she indeed shuffled off her mortal coil, but due to her previous earthly existence being uniquely and perfectly balanced by equal amounts of good and bad deeds, she is not yet ready to move on to either afterlife and thus has landed what might be the most unconventional apprenticeship ever as she trains to become the next Grim Reaper, learning the trade from none other than the current incumbent himself (Moy)
Becoming Grim is a film that looks for inspiration from genius comedy shows like 30 Rock and the also spiritually-centric The Good Place, which of course are the correct dizzying heights to aim for. Sadly though, that is quite a far reach for this short. That’s not to say that the comedy is awful; it’s not. There are some solid one-liners to be enjoyed as well as the odd visual gag, but it is at times guilty of some lowest common denominator humour and its severe inconsistency in how funny it is makes this piece feel less like prime-time comedy sitcom and more like an after-school kids lark.
Where the film does shine brighter is during its more dramatic beats. When the #shortfilm takes its time to slow things down for a deep poignant breath, things begin to come together much more naturally and it becomes apparent that this film to its credit, rather than just simply trying to throw countless gags at a wall to see what sticks, has something it is trying to say.
These ups and downs are mirrored in the performances from both White and Moy. They take a while to settle, and it seems the delivery on certain lines, mainly from Moy, is at times under-serving some of the jokes. But they are likeable, it’s hard not to grow affection and become a bit more forgiving towards these characters as the film goes on, and they too manage to help add a certain gravitas when the film is beginning to show its heart.
Becoming Grim is at the end of the day what it sets out to be; a silly story with a warm message at its core. It has some creative touches throughout, it’s just a shame that as a comedy it’s quite lacking and apart from the odd chuckle, it most likely won’t tickle you for too long.