Great Asphyxiations Short Film Review

★★★★

Directed by: #SammyAnderson

Written by: #SammyAnderson

Starring: #SammyAnderson, #GarretStoko, #PrestonGeer

Film Review by Lucy Clarke


Wally (Sammy Anderson) sucks and chews a green Starbucks straw coating it in dribble. Instead of a chocolate shortbread to accompany Wally's Frappuccino, a recently murdered body is lying in front of him. Wally and his partner Darren (Preston Geer) are not particularly good at their jobs. They question whether murder and the Mob is really the direction their career should be going in as if they're rejects from a Scorsese movie. The farcical comedy characterises them more like Tom Stoppard's iteration of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern rather than aggressive mobsters. Neither of them seems to be cut out for the job, and Wally, in particular, is bordering on neurotic.


In a fourth-wall-breaking twist, and something reminiscent from the opening minutes of Skyrim, it turns out that the viewer is actually the body! As the camera shifts looking at both Wally and Darren, it dawns on the audience that they are being watched by the two men, while they discuss how to dispose of you. With the tight script, this scenario's framing avoids the typical gimmick and the roll of the eyes that often accompanies unusual comedic ideas. Darren and Wally are both deeply incompetent, making the realisation that in fact, you're still alive all the funnier. The possible suggestions for disposing the body are tossed aside. There are no body bags, so a quick disposal is hardly an option, and they've run out of marinara sauce, so man steak is hardly on the menu either. The scenario is already bizarre and comedic enough, but the dialogue is slick enough to hold it all together.


While the breaking of the fourth wall and the script is ingenious enough, Great Asphyixations would be nothing without its two leads' chemistry. Director and writer Sammy Anderson perfectly understands the relationship and brotherhood between these two men. Wally is an intensely odd young man who probably would be better at computer programming than a floundering career as a hitman. Darren seems a little more professional in the face of the killing business, although he's clueless too. Although they're chalk and cheese, like every great comedic duo, Geer and Anderson work wonderfully together.


Despite its length, Great Asphyxiations loses a little momentum towards the end. There is only so long you can play dead, after all. Yet, it is still a wondrously promising film, guaranteeing a good laugh in the face of death and mobsters.