Directed by Fred Cavender
Starring Mark Chapman, Ingrid Bakewell, Chris Assheton-Blair and Mark Denieffe
The latest offering from Tuperhero Films has landed and this time it's a comedy. This is slightly less well trodden territory for Fred Cavender, following success with several sci-fi and horror style shorts, including The Damned and Unique, and Day Shift is, sadly, less impressive.
Whilst The Damned and Unique were commended for their generic conventions and the manipulation of those classic ideas, a principle Day Shift is still founded upon, it hasn't worked quite as well in this instance. There is some mild amusement and certainly the cinematography and characterisation is of note, but this film won't illicit much more than a few chuckles and certainly not the belly laughs we might expect. It is an enjoyable watch though. It is light-hearted, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the writing is good enough to move you to irritation if nothing else.
Our protagonist, a pedantic barman hell-bent on following rules and having everything run by the alarm on his watch, completely fails to notice that he has three criminals in his bar. They are hiding from the police, who are still combing the area for them, while they await another getaway driver after the first’s car breaks down. But is our barman as stupid as he seems?
Played by Mark Chapman, the barman is exceptionally irksome and only a good actor could pull that off in such small ways. It’s the blank face; the apathetic movements; the slow pace, which only steps up a gear if an alarm sounds; the inane pointing to signs which he refuses to draw people's’ attention to. I imagine audience members will have a range of reactions to this character: you’ll either totally support him and chuckle along as he mercilessly annoys everyone he comes into contact with (FYI: this means you are a pedant), or you’ll want to throw something through your screen at him.
The good writing can also be seen at the end of the film which delivers a good twist and not one all will anticipate. The comic hallmarks of the calamitous criminal trio and the slightly slow policeman come together nicely and there is a little sense that the game might be up through the film too, which keeps the audience on their toes. Little accents like the signage in the bar, the rocky backing tracks and the news bulletin revealing the criminals’ identities are also well integrated into this fun and well-polished short.
If you’ve enjoyed the other films from Cavender recently, you may consider Day Shift a departure from his usual form, but it is still worth the viewing time.
A free short film on the UK Film Channel, enjoy Day Shift in full below...