Directed and written by Jamie Hooper
Starring Tim Blackwell, Nathan Dean Williams, Gabriella Montrose
Short Film Review by Rachel Pullen
Certain films, as well as directors, are known for their plot twists, of course we all think of the extremely famous ending to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, where Bruce Willis got super bummed out to realise he has been dead for the duration of the film, and making us the audience realize what a self centered, piece of garbage husband he must of been to not figure out his wife never looks him in the eye anymore, or touches him, or talks to him, or anything in fact...god damn, get it together Bruce.
The point being plot twists are very successful within cinema, especially in thriller’s and director Jamie Hooper is on board the plot twist train straight away with Unto death, in fact he is so on board he is the train driver, steering us into a world where everything is not as it seems.
This short tells the story of a homosexual priest who, whist conducting a sermon, reads a poem, about love, life and the frailty of it all.
We see him and his lover enjoying their times together and being very much in love, shot with vibrant lights and using warm and rich tones on the sets, director Hooper, avoids conversation between his characters, letting the poetry do the talking, and so brings life to their emotions using these tools.
But all is not pleasant for long as his partner falls mysteriously ill, causing the priest to block out the vibrant lights, putting the atmosphere of the piece directly on the other side of the spectrum, plunging the audience into a world of darkness and fading hope, as he keeps his lover bed bound, shielded from light.
And then there is a moment when you think to yourself, no it can’t be what I think it is, maybe he has some kind of strep throat, maybe the light hurts his eyes for a variety of medical reasons, but no, this is film at the end of the day, and it's everything you first thought it to be...vampires.
Now this does not seem so silly as there are millions of vampire films in the world already, but Hooper’s entrance to this short, leads us to anything but that conclusion, believing I am watching moving piece of poetic work about the untimely loss of a lover to a terrible illness, only to see a vampire pop out was immensely comical, and that I believe was what Hooper desired.
Executing this comical plot twist in a manner that does not throw off the emotional backdrop that has been built up takes a good amount of skill, Unto Death achieves this by having a highly competent cast attached, as well as excellent direction making the transition of the storyline smooth and believable.
This is a slick and professional looking piece of film, offering up a buffet of emotions for its audience which will keep you guessing right up to the end.