Directed by: #BlakeHurford
Written by: Blake Hurford
A neon love letter to the eighties, #filmmaker Blake Hurford's irreverent short comedy Please Remain Seated - Episode 1 is a stylistically impressive blast of zany antics and a lacklustre narrative.
Blake Hurford plays Tim, a sleeveless denim jacket-wearing punk who hangs with friends playing Street Fighter 2 in a local amusement joint. Their reverie is disturbed, however, when a murderous chairperson (Dominic Clement) emerges looking to tear them all a new one. The only way to slow the maniac down is by throwing chairs in his way, as he seems to have to sit on all that cross his path.
Goofy dialogue and overtly distracting #filmmaking techniques are used in Please Remain Seated to ensure the audience knows very quickly not to take any of this too seriously. It's a short film (or possibly a web series?) that aims to send up the #retro nostalgia in current popular culture (Stranger Things) whilst still adoring it in some fashion. It's unevenly made, with some scenes being executed far better than others, but this is all part of its amateur charm.
Music is used incredibly, with engaging remixes of 80s classics like Bohemian Rhapsody and Can't Take My Eyes Off You being used to enhance the theatrics. Video game blips can also be heard throughout the piece, ensuring the audience is fully immersed in the decor and time period. Certain aesthetic choices are also made to complement this atmosphere of excess, such as slow motion running on a beach before letterboxing the character's face.
The performances are unlikely to garner any award attention, with a lot of mumbled dialogue and awkward pacing to their lines. That being said, there is a nice chemistry amongst the bunch that would cement a few more adventurous tales from these misfit characters. There just needs to be a coherence in what they are trying to achieve, is it a spoof? Is it modern retro? Is it period comedy? The complete mashup of all these things leaves the viewer feeling nauseated and unlikely to be begging for more.
Far from a car crash of a short film, Please Remain Seated - Episode 1 is a funny and visually stimulating piece of throwback cinema. Its ambition perhaps outruns its capabilities and audiences could certainly reject the tone if they feel it's being spiteful, but for anyone who enjoys a bit of goofy #horror and a bit of Scott Pilgrim, this will have you on the edge of every seat thrown in your path.