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The Last Supper

average rating is 4 out of 5


Rob Jones


Posted on:

Mar 6, 2023

Film Reviews
The Last Supper
Directed by:
Anh Do
Written by:
Jennifer Bulcock
Jennifer Bulcock, Damien McNeilly

The Last Supper is, by all intents and purposes, a horror film. There aren't any jump scares, and there isn't a single genre trope present, but the atmosphere of dread is palpable from the moment it starts. We're presented with a small family, a couple with a newborn baby, living in a cramped flat. There must have been a loving relationship in there at some point, but where we meet them is at a point where that's given way to unidirectional contempt and domestic abuse. The horror is that we’re put into a position where we know something that two vulnerable characters (a baby and their mother) don’t, so immediately we’re in a position where we have information that we could do something with. What’s so excruciating is experiencing the mental torture that starts with a character not having the information that we have in real-time. It's impossible to resist the question of whether we should do more to help. A series of instincts are triggered by the subject matter that we physically aren’t able to act on, and that makes it a deeply upsetting experience. As it should be.


Something that The Last Supper does very well, is that it reframes elements of a typically happy life as harbingers of doom. For example, a baby’s dinner tray which is manufactured to look as happy and as cheerful as a dinner tray possibly can becomes an ominous symbol that always seems to be in shot when the worst is about to happen, even when it looks like the worst has already happened. This actually makes a second so much more unsettling and profoundly uncomfortable, especially when we’re already asking how and where we should’ve done more.


There’s a voyeuristic quality to it all that appeals to our own morality. In watching The Last Supper, we’re in the position of a bystander who can see exactly what’s happening, but the discomfort comes from the feeling of helplessness to change anything. What’s so impressive here, though, is that it isn’t afraid to manipulate that feeling to its absolute extremes. Although this is a position that we’re uncomfortable in, it’s ultimately one where we don’t have any accountability towards what’s going on, so there’s a detachment from it all. That detachment is completely shattered in a bleak moment where our position as the helpless bystander is drawn into question. It’s perhaps one of the scariest moments of complete mundaneness that’s ever been captured on film. By creating a film that’s so rich in conjuring complex feelings in us, the hammer blow is then delivered in such a shocking yet gentle way.


It feels wrong to call this a wonderful film, but it is. It’s completely miserable and it’s a horrible experience, but that’s a complement to the craft of the filmmakers. The Last Supper manages to do something incredible in the way it plays with our feelings. It exists in the space between morality and experience, and it presents us with something that isn’t uncommon or extraordinary, but rather so normal that we can’t help but relate to it. On one hand, it forces us to experience the fear inherent in the abuse it shows, and on the other, it forces us into a feeling of helplessness as we watch it. Two feelings that it exploits to their absolute fullest potential to create something that we can learn from, and that introspection makes this a very important short film.

About the Film Critic
Rob Jones
Rob Jones
Short Film
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