“Don’t Fear The Reaper”
Review written by Jack Bottomley
Short films are in many ways an even tougher undertaking than a full-length feature film, for it is paramount to create a narrative both enticing and concise. So with this said we venture into Writer/Director/Producer Luke Mordue’s 12 minute-long short film, The Reaper. The title evokes images of a haunting and ghoulish characters that have been drip fed to us over the many years of mythology and storytelling, yet at no point do we veer into the well trodden territory of such tales here. Indeed scythes are at a minimum; instead Mordue has used those preconceptions of “The Reaper” to fuel a very pulled back and often powerful story of human life and the egotism of our race and its philosophies.
From the opening moments (which recall the home invasion genre) the story is appealing and quite intense. The film sees couple Josh (Jamie Hawes) and Kelly (Julia Leyland) awoken by strange noises downstairs, as the police are called Josh goes downstairs to investigate and interrupts a burglary. As he fails to catch the perpetrators, Josh goes back to the house to find that all is not quite as it seems. The story is a simplistic set up for a quite meaningful little tale of the human psyche. Some may be able to predict the central idea early on but most will likely be taken aback by how neatly this film delivers its ideology or by how the central figure of this film is presented.
Jamie Hawes is realistic as Josh and while early on the character is a bit gruff, he comes to reveal a peak of emotion as the story unfolds. Julia Leyland has less time onscreen, so her character is more of a supporting element but Dana Smit makes up for that with an excellent co-starring turn. Her character is a neat spin on the film’s chosen concept and Smit gets the film’s best dialogue that hints at mankind’s primal arrogance in thinking they are superior to other life and above fate itself. Smit is both initially haunting and yet quite understanding and she is a powerful core to Mordue’s rather brilliant little story.
Mordue’s film is well shot and paced, with the
direction being focused (look out for Mordue, as he also appears in a cameo as a policeman) and the visuals are restrained and not over-stylised for dramatic effect. Plus Billy Jupp’s music is very atmospheric and effectively compliments the succinctly delivered story. At the heart there is a powerful tale being told here, that is cautionary and yet one that in its own way is reassuring. We all reach the same end in life and this film suggests that rather than fill our time with what we want to do, we should perhaps focus on what we can do. The Reaper is a good little watch that once again shows that the simplest of concepts can deliver something that is both enjoyable and thoughtful. A short film that is very much worth your time.
Watch The Reaper below...