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average rating is 3 out of 5


Julian Gaskell


Posted on:

Jun 17, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
A. G. Balázas
Written by:
A. G. Balázas
Gary Wales, Kyle Pennington, Brad Bishop

An indie short by A. G. Balázas that sees two contestants participate in a dystopian style drinking game with its roots firmly set in the present day.


The ‘Game Master’ (Brad Bishop) enters the room wearing a hazmat protective suit and sets a small table with some drinking shot glasses, one of which he adds a mysterious white powder before pouring in the drink. He randomly rearranges the shot glasses in preparation for a Russian roulette style drinking game where the stakes are high. He finally loads a tape to the video camera before leaving the room.


Next, we see the first contestant (Gary Wales) sat waiting in the room looking nervous and timid. In walks the second contestant (Kyle Pennington) with a bold swagger who sits confidently beside him. Both their brows are sweating by now as they eye each other up, the timer is ticking and then the buzzer goes signally it's time to choose their first shot glass to down.


The contestants are quite different. The 1st contestant seems much more reluctant to play the game, whilst the 2nd contestant shows an intimidating arrogance. He's watchful of the first contestant, looking to make sure he is drinking properly. The dialogue between them is minimal but telling in what is an oppressed situation. The one contestant is clearly enjoying the game much more the other even though both are in the same predicament.


There’s a nice sci-fi element to this brought about by the synth music and the CGI used in the game, which are both really effective, but oddly in juxtaposition with the overall staging of the short, where little attempt has been made to disguise its rudimental requirements. The location looks like a garage lock up, with some regular kitchen furniture put inside and the performers look casually dressed in their own clothing, which gives the proceedings more of a theatrical rehearsal impression (at least the Game Master gives some semblance of being in character wearing a boiler suit). This is in total contrast to the futuristic CGI graphics that are used in its ending that give the impression of some pretty powerful substances at work and some impressive technology that is not currently available today. Presumably these are to be washed over as time or budgetary restrictions for the imagination to fill in the gaps.


It makes a nice premise for a reality TV game show in the ilk of a Hunger Games or Squid Games where great rewards await the winner with the losers left to face the ultimate consequence.

About the Film Critic
Julian Gaskell
Julian Gaskell
Short Film
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