Directed by: #BlakeElder
Written by: #TaylorScott
When your Alcoholic Anonymous meeting gets cancelled because there is an apocalypse going on with the streets being littered with the undead, where do you go? A sports bar run by Lucifer himself of course.
Written by Taylor Scott and directed by Blake Elder, comedy short film Last Call stars Jared Bankens as John, the aforementioned alky whose journey on the straight and narrow just got a lot more bendy. Staying on the wagon is hard enough but when the devil (Dustin Prince) is the one trying to nudge you off there can’t be much hope. Will John’s willpower hold out long enough for him to avoid being one of the seven sins being collected by the Evil One like damaged human baseball cards?
With great #cinematography and a daring storyline, Last Call is also a cheeky short that wants its audience to have a good time. The characters are thinly sketched (other than John who, we discover, has an interesting backstory) and feel perfunctory for the most part. The lighthearted atmosphere and tone stays pretty consistent throughout, with small jokes and banter filling up most of the barroom space. The movie does offer some sublime shots, in particular during the opening and closing sections of the film, that are impressively delivered.The use of focus on a street post was great as was a short overhead sequence.
The performances were solid. Bankens is a convincing lead and does well to navigate the stress of a character dealing with multiple attacks to his sobriety. Prince is also a charismatic devil (literally), and Star McCann’s aggressive turn was wonderful to watch. The musician’s delusion felt a touch overacted but did provide some of the best comedy moments, such as a throwaway line about Facebook. Together, the ensemble works well to create an enjoyable band of delinquents.
By utilising a #dystopian landscape to explore the central character’s addiction, the filmmakers are able to take liberties that other comedies wouldn’t. Not only does this film have zombies and demons in, whilst we watch someone trying to stay sober, these fantastical elements are clear parallels to John’s flaw. The obstacles and behaviour from others he faces in the movie are metaphors for his own “demons”, and that staying dry each day is like trying to survive the apocalypse.