Written & Directed by Usher Morgan
Starring Joel Bernard and Elyse Price
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
A character transplant from Transylvania in Usher Morgan's stylish short film, Fine Dining which takes the infamous cafe scene from Quentin Tarrantino's classic Pulp Fiction and swaps out the man and woman for a male vampire (Joel Bernard) and female vampire (Elyse Price). Instead of being forlorn with robbing liquor stores, our fanged male protagonist is fed up with drinking blood from the blood bank which has robbed him of the excitement of a "fresh" hunt. The pair enjoy a biting dialogue about the dilution of life by the accessible nature of modern society, but also hope to exploit that same society's atheistic tendencies for their own gains.
Whilst the premise already is unique, filmmaker Morgan goes one step further to deliver something completely compelling on a visual level. The frames have been "painted and processed" to create a stark and vibrant aesthetic that seems one part comic book to one part video game cut scene. The result of which is a madcap blend of genres and tones which coalesce to create something really rather engaging.
The chemistry between the two performers is excellent. Bernard is a formidable leading man, dousing the screen with volatile hunger and energy, whilst Price offers a more stable yet equally as ravenous portrayal as the leading lady. As the movie was born as a filmmaking challenge (to rewrite a famous film scene using a folklore character and new dialogue) the two performers enjoy the spoils of a fantastic script, powering through with ferocity line after line.
A few small moments of visual effects are thrown in to Fine Dining by Ricky Monroe, which added a nice depth to the storytelling and enhanced the background for the characters. It would have been nice to let these play out slightly longer to increase their expositional quality. That being said, the end credits scene is simply wonderful! A brilliant use of music and warped caricatures.
It was awesome to see the mash-up of a classic tale and a classic film work so seamlessly. Where the mixture seemed to work the best was the enduring themes which were present in both worlds that Morgan then translated into Fine Dining. Themes such as being cynical about the world, craving a life fuelled by excitement, and doing more than just existing, emanate from the two vampires having been enriched by their forebears. To then deliver this mash-up in a cacophony of stylistic artistry is simply masterful.
Read our exclusive interview with filmmaker Usher Morgan. Or dying to see Fine Dining for yourself? Watch the short film for free below...