Directed by: #KyleKleege
Written by: Kyle Kleege
Made without dialogue, #filmmaker Kyle Kleege’s short film Hickey is an eternal love story. Starring Ben Amendolara as a recently made member of the undead, he decides to inflict his curse of Charity Buckbee’s character, so that he has some company in this new life (or unlife) of his. As the pair navigate this new world they have found themselves in, the prospect of their survival and humanity becomes the focal point.
A similar trope was used in the 2016 science fiction movie Passengers, in which Chris Pratt decided to wake up Jennifer Lawrence aboard their floating spaceship because he didn’t want to spend his journey until death alone. With Hickey, the idea is more compact and visceral, yet just as compelling. We are asked as an audience to contemplate Man’s actions and pass judgement on the morality of his decision, whilst journeying with him and Woman in a new chapter where they may or may not be able to find some happiness in the bleak situation they have been thrust into.
Music is used wonderfully to break the #shortfilm into chapters, as numerous others become victims of a serious hickey to the neck. A sequence involving woman and a delicate piano score was a particular highlight. The special effect make-up was cleverly done and lended the piece a degree of authority where other vampire indie movies may have struggled.
The performances are great, Amendolara is a poignant lead and able to cope well with the emotional demands of his character’s dilemma. It is Charity Buckbee who impresses most, though, with a maniacal breakdown on a kitchen floor providing the movie’s best scene. There is also a lovely chemistry between the two performers which cemented Hickey’s enjoyability factor, something which is gripping by the final third of the film.
Within the genre of undead and vampire movies, viewers are most likely to question the idea of being “alive” and what that means. Characters are usually delivered in a not-so-far-removed manner in order to allow audiences to connect with them. Hickey explores this wonderfully, keeping the humanity within each character and being fearless in displaying the heart wrenching transformation they must go through in order to adapt to their new physical demands. Kleege’s story is loaded with pathos and tenderness so that it never veers too heavily into the horror ballpark, and instead remains an affecting and compelling drama.