Directed by Alasdair McWilliams
Written by Alaisdair McWilliams and Andrew Cant
Starring Martin Challinor, Hai Le, Basil Preuveneers, Stefania Montesolaro
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Terminal illness can be a gripping catalyst for a story, as it forces not just the central character, but secondary ones too, to exhibit markedly different behaviour in the face of impending tragedy and adversity. Short film Positive Result, from Alasdair McWilliams and Andrew Cant, takes this idea and explores a darker side to it, the social outcasting which can come from being diagnosed with a life-threatening affliction.
William (Martin Challinor) attempts to find an explanation for his rage by seeing his doctor (Basil Preuveneers), who goes through the usual examination procedures. After learning that William has recently been out of the country on a stag-do jaunt, the indicators start to look very grim for our protagonist. Diagnosed with a "Positive Result" for a brain-munching disease known as ZNP (don't ask) that is going to render him a "shambling" zombie, William's home and work life turn as dismal as his medical outlook. The short film then becomes concerned with William's search for purpose.
It needs to be mentioned that the filmmakers intend this piece to be the first of four interlinked shorts, an admirable project that will be interesting to see the outcome of. This film review will focus solely on Positive Result though.
Throughout the short, McWilliams delivers subtle tension and an isolated atmosphere to parallel the main character's journey. Clinical settings, a standoffish workplace, and hazy flashback sequences of the stag-do are used to tether the audience to William's anguish brilliantly. By the time William reaches rock bottom, drinking alone in his home, the viewer cannot help but feel a palpable sense of futility wash over them in the face of such a dire situation. To suggest what comes next would be to spoil it somewhat, but I will just say that it is worth sticking around for and the promise of three more installments is certainly intriguing.
The performances are mostly of a good standard. Challinor is a strong lead, coping with the tumultuous character journey well especially during the heavily emotive scenes. Stefania Montesolaro is worthy of particular mention as the specialist whom William sees. Their scene together is possibly the strongest in Positive Result, one which cemented this viewer to the plot. Other turns are not quite as impressive, in particular William's insufferable co-worker played clunkily by Hai Le. The baffling relationship between the two characters is done no favours by Le's wooden delivery.
A promising short film, though, by most measures. McWilliams and Cant show themselves to be intelligent storytellers and the overall aesthetic has a compelling feel.
Watch the official Movie Trailer for Positive Result below...