Gary Cowden (Mike Neider), AKA: The Bicuspid Killer, is the next subject examined in the hit crime series Investigation: Death. In this episode, titled I Dated a Serial Killer, they look into Gary’s techniques as a murderer. He enjoys luring women on dating websites in order to meet with them. Meetings in which Gary has murderous intent. On one date he meets Karen Davies (Dawn Marie Hughes), a woman whom Gary plans to take home. He has noticed that Karen has beautiful teeth. Gary soon finds out, however, that Karen Davies isn’t like his other victims. In fact Karen may be much more disturbed than even Gary himself.
Written and directed by Jeremy Allen, Investigation: Death is a short horror/dark comedy. Leaning into both genres, Investigation: Death will have the viewer grimacing one minute and chuckling with laughter the next. Switching genres is also Investigation: Deaths strongest element. It subverts the audiences expectations of what they are watching, moving from genre to genre with an exceptional directorial hand. The writing is well done with the comedic bits being a highlight. The acting is also noteworthy and the entire cast does an exceptional job. Mike Neider is outstanding as Gary Cowden, a creepy villain that will stick with the viewer long after watching.
Not many criticisms come to mind as I had an entertaining time with this film. With such a creative team it would be interesting, however, to see this idea revisited with a larger budget. This may not be possible, but it would be neat to see Investigation: Death with an overall polish that a larger budget could bring.
Overall Investigation: Death was an awesome watch. Both deeply disturbing and funny it hit all the notes of a good short. Although a little rough around the edges, it was fantastic in terms of direction, writing, and acting. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys serial killer horror and hilarious dark comedy.
Molly has a very curious hobby. She obsesses over everything Bigfoot. News clippings, video sightings and first hand accounts swirl around her brain. When she hears that Blue Ridge Adventures is sponsoring a contest in her area, she jumps at the opportunity. Ten thousand dollars to anyone who can find proof that Bigfoot exists. So Molly grabs her somewhat skeptical friend, Devon, and they begin their journey. A journey that will show Molly to always follow her dreams, despite the pitfalls that may occur.
Big and Tall is a heartwarming comedy/adventure short directed by Clint Till. Emi Otsuki plays the smart and spunky Molly. Emi does an outstanding job in playing Molly as an instantly likable character. Emis portrayal would make any girl watching Big and Tall be drawn to Molly’s adventurous spirit. Devin McCracklin also does a fantastic job in a supporting role as Molly’s friend Devon. A good script and a nice comedic performance by Devin develops Devon’s character nicely. He has his own unique personality while also not overshadowing Molly.
The directing is another standout in Big and Tall. Clint Till gets performances from Emi and Devin that, in my opinion, rival other famous films with child actors. IT: Chapter 1 and Stand by Me come to mind. Every shot is purposeful and every scene helped to forward the story in a meaningful way. My only criticism is that it was too short. I realize it’s a short film, but I feel this could be made into a full length feature.
I thought Big and Tall was a great film. A fantastic script delivered by amazing child actors shot by a director that respects his audiences time. It’s comedy and adventure mixed together with a little suspense added in. I recommend this to anyone that enjoys feel good, well made movies.
A documentary about a man. A man who has learned to hate pies. Not just because he hates the taste, but because they are ruining his life. Yes, that’s right. I said pies.
Pie has a hilarious central concept used to its fullest potential. Directed by Doug Cox, the film uses a faux documentary style to carry this concept up till the end. The genius concept combined with the creative presentation result in a comedy short that I will remember for quite some time.
I give Pie 5 out of 6 reels.
Sac de Merde
Mazie can’t catch a break. All she wants is decent man who is above all else normal. Sounds simple enough but after multiple dates she continues to find quirks that only seem to escalate in weirdness, with hilarious results.
A good story, fantastic script, and an uproariously funny performance by Arielle Haller–Silverstone as Mazie are some of the keys that make Sac de Merde shine. Directed by Greg Chwerchak, Sac de Merde has amazing comedy writing that could make the story great all on its own. However, having Arielle to deliver the lines really brings everything together as she gives us an all-star comedic performance.
I give Sac de Merde 6 out of 6 reels.
Saul’s 108th Story
Saul Moroz shares his incredible story where he installs a pane of glass for a window company. “Incredible story?”, you may ask. Yes, considering it’s 1950s New York and he’s 108 floors above the ground. Don’t worry about it!
A fun short that is basically a very enjoyable story told to us by the man who lived it, Saul Moroz. Directed by Joshua Carlon, Saul’s 108th Story puts the spotlight on Saul and he is an entertaining storyteller indeed. As with any great storyteller Saul puts you in his shoes and you actually feel like you’re a glass worker in 1950s New York. The presentation and graphics around Saul as he tells his tale are also a nice touch.
I give Saul’s 108th Story 4 out of 6 reels.
After visiting a creepy fortune-teller with his buddies Ethan uncovers a dark sinister secret. A secret that may change the course of his life forever.
Smoke is a creepy tale of revenge directed by Justin Malone. The film features some great editing and skillful camerawork which helps to set up the increasingly sinister mood. Clint Abner does a fine acting job and it shows because we see Ethan’s descent clearly as the joking mood in the beginning quickly turns sour. A great entry into the thriller genre.
I give Smoke 5 out of 6 reels.
Does a mirror really show us what’s happening in reality, only in reverse? Or is only the reflection of our mind?
Directed by Massimiliano Mauceri, The Mirror is an effective horror short with a creative way of telling us its story. The Mirror lacks any dialogue, but makes up for that with amazing special effects and purposeful direction given to the actors (Carlotta Galmarini and Mattia Rigatti). Through the use of these elements we get a very nuanced horror tale that doesn’t resort to jump scares.
I give The Mirror 4 out of 6 reels.
What do the items in our house do while we go to work? More than likely they just sit there and don’t move until we get home. Then again maybe they come up with courageous escape plans that rival Escape from Alcatraz.
Done in a similar vein as Sausage Party, Toasted takes a style we usually associate with children’s films and flips it on its head. Director Chad Janusch takes a stop motion animation approach with Toasted and mixes it with vulgar adult humor. The results are astonishing because the craft and care taken to make this short is clearly evident. You can see it even in the little details, such as matching certain emotions with specific household items. Fantastically funny and full of visual eye candy.
I give Toasted 6 out of 6 reels.
A voicemail from a mother because she worries about her adult son going outside for the day. A simple action that shouldn’t be of concern.
Through the delivery of hearing a voicemail being played, director Kyle Solomon delivers an emotional punch. In The Voicemail we see that, for some people, everyday activities can be much different from others. A short that delivers an impact which will linger with you long after watching.
American Craft: What Beer Can Teach Us About Well-Crafted Laws
This documentary short gives us a look into the world of American craft beer. We see the ups and downs over the years as laws have shaped how we produce and distribute craft beer to the public. From its fledgling beginnings to becoming a thriving creative subculture, American craft beer is here to stay.
American Craft is an enjoyable and informative short film. Directed by Matt Wood, American Craft achieves two goals that are important to any documentary. First, it attracts newcomers to the world of craft brewing without alienating them. It’s short and stylish enough to just dip your toes into and enjoy, while not being overwhelmed by an ocean of information. Secondly, the content is entertaining and educational. Veterans of the craft brewing scene will appreciate that American Craft is not watered down in any way.
I give American Craft 6 out of 6 reels.
Happy Bath Day
Follow along as a dog takes a trip to the pet store. Once at the store she gets a little TLC with a bath given to her by her friend in the blue shoes.
Delightfully simple and full of heart Happy Bath Day, directed by Meka Butler, is a pleasure to watch. If you’re looking for an intense story with multiple plot twists, look elsewhere. If you’re a pet lover looking for a relaxing movie with an excellent acoustic soundtrack, Happy Bath Day is for you. Also, it’s worth noting that Jada the dog does an amazing acting job.
I give Happy Bath Day 3 out of 6 reels.
My Plastic Buddha
In My Plastic Buddha we get some insight into a mans ideas on the value and importance we put on specific objects in our everyday lives.
Jeff Madzia stars and directs in My Plastic Buddha, an informative short that is both emotionally moving and effective. Never resorting to sounding to preachy, Jeff weaves us a short, but effective, cautionary tale. He tells us how he has extracted meaning and worth in objects that are objectively worthless. We are then allowed to form our own opinion from his message. We can then decide what in our own life may become our own plastic Buddha.
I give My Plastic Buddha 5 out of 6 reels.
Gauntlet Run: Origins
Tied up in a warehouse, a man answers questions for an unsavory group of people while being beaten. He isn’t giving any answers and when a rival member enters the scene an unlikely partnership forms and an epic beat down commences.
Directed by Garrett Atkinson, Gauntlet Run: Origins wears its influences on its sleeve. Those influences being high-octane action films. Movies such as The Raid and John Wick come to mind and Gauntlet Run does them proud. The action is impeccable and at times you may wonder if you’re watching a professionally choreographed action spectacle. The story is generic but with action scenes like this I’ll give Gauntlet Run a pass.
I give Gauntlet Run: Origins 5 out of 6 Reels.
He is at his barber, ready to get his haircut. Or is he with his girlfriend, at a restaurant ready to order. The choices are so confusing.
Intriguing, strange, and clever. These are some terms that come to mind when viewing the comedic short Haircut. Directed by George Massimillo, Haircut appears as one of two things. First, is this is a tale about life’s endless choices and the confusion that ensues while making them? Or, secondly, is this just an absurdist alternate reality, similar to Napoleon Dynamite or similar shows on Adult Swim? Or maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way it’s definitely worth a watch.
I give Haircut 3 out of 6 reels.
A brother and sister realize that the sister, who is in a vegetative like state, that they have taken care of for years has a special talent. She can predict the outcome of future lottery draws or other gambling endeavors. Will they use this talent for good or will they let the greed wash over their lives.
Story is the shining star in Lightning Strikes, directed by Camille Calvin. A well written script that combines multiple genres along with great acting are what make the plot captivating. Some of the genres sprinkled throughout are suspense, drama, and even some comedy. Irene, played by Camille Calvin, and Betty, played by Emanda Pimentel, navigate these genres expertly and are a joy to watch. The choices dealing with mental disabilities are sometimes questionable but for the most part don’t interfere with the overall quality.
I give Lightning Strikes 4 out of 6 reels.
Jaysons life isn’t going so well. His girlfriend left him, his college grades are failing, and his dreams of becoming a local superhero always end in injury. That is until he goes back home to get his childhood toy, a Macaulay Culkin doll that brings him good luck and comfort.
Extremely funny and charming the comedy short Macocky, directed by Ivon and Eyan Wuchina, excels on multiple levels. The comedy writing is excellent, mixing jokes that are both uproariously funny as well as more subdued leading to an even tone throughout. The story is nicely paced with moments of complete absurdity complemented by more relatable human moments. Luke Enzor also does a fantastic job in playing Jayson as a unique and quirky person while also remaining realistic. All of these elements make Macocky a must see.
“I got some hot pussy . . . what? I’ll suck it. How big is it? Listen, when your dick gets hard does it get hard fast or does it take it awhile to get hard?” This may sound like the banter of your normal run of the mill porn star, but it isn’t. This is the dialogue of an old woman in her small house, as she does puzzles and crochets. A grandma who appears normal but has a very unique job thus creating a juxtaposition that is uproariously hilarious.
Phone Sex Grandmais a comedy short directed by Jack Truman. I enjoyed this film on multiple levels. Opal Dockery was funny in her hilarious portrayal of the vulgar grandma. It was amusing to watch her go about her daily life while also spouting numerous obscenities. Opal does a great job of both making the character endearing with her actions, while also hilarious with the delivery of the script. Opal Dockery also wrote PhoneSex Grandma, which I feel is noteworthy.
The more I watched the more interested I became in knowing more about this woman. I wanted to know how she came into this job and her life leading up to it. On the surface Phone Sex Grandma seems like a straight up comedy but I believe it also has elements of drama. Where she lives and her daily activities make me believe that this job was chosen by necessity and not by desire.
One criticism I do have with Phone Sex Grandma is with one of its greatest attributes, the writing. While very entertaining and hilarious, by the end of the roughly 9 minute runtime my mind was starting to wander. It was a great bit, but if they were to continue with future installments I would need more variety.
That being said, other films by Jack Truman bare the following titles:
Phone Sex Grandma is a hilarious look into the life of a seemingly normal Grandma with a very interesting job choice. It’s both funny and heartfelt when thinking of the old woman and how her life came to be at this point. The acting is outstanding and while the vulgar jokes do get to be a bit much by the end of the film, I still would give this a strong recommendation.
We’re back with Mini-Reviews for the 2nd half of official selections for the SUDS & CINEMA – Grove City event that occurred on March 9th, 2019!
directed by AnthonyChambers
A house sitter(LolitaPrice) arrives at her job for the night. It looks easy enough. Watch an old house and profit. That’s until she meets the odd old man(ClayDePew) in the house. Then there are the strange occurrences that are becoming increasingly unexplainable.
A very well-directed horror short that makes the creepiness of the house the star. I love old haunted house flicks and this captures the feeling of those classics in multiple ways. The camera shots give the viewer a feeling that they are in an unsettling and unfamiliar place. The actors did a great job of putting us in the shoes of the house sitter, while also making us feel uneasy about the creepy homeowner. This film probably wouldn’t do anything for people who don’t enjoy a ghostly horror vibe, but this will impress the diehard fans.
4 out of 6 Reels
directed by TomDallas
Another suspenseful action packed bank heist thriller filled with dangerous criminals and gritty police officers. Or is it…
A really fun and creative movie that explores different ways to approach a clichéd genre. The cast is large for a short film and, despite it being crowded, they all do a good job. The true star of the movie is the concept of the film. I don’t want to spoil anything but this movie really opens up after a few scenes and the rollercoaster ride begins. Some may find this short a bit to reliant on the concept but, regardless, I had a fantastic time watching every second.
5 out of 6 Reels
directed by AugustAguilar
The Subject(TylerMcKee) wakes up. The Subject entertains himself. The Subject eats. The Subject gets out of line. The Subject gets punished and put back to bed. Rise. Repeat.
A sci-fi horror short, Subject plays out similar to an episode of The Twilight Zone. Just like that classic series this film lives or dies on its story. Thankfully, the story is very good. It gives you just enough, bit by bit, to leave you wanting more until you arrive at the shocking conclusion. The plot hooked me during the entire runtime. The special effects are great and the sound design, with the ominous alarm, was quite effective. Despite some plot holes, which comes with the territory in this genre, I was still captivated.
5 out of 6 Reels
directed by ZebulonGriffin
Bear(Josh Strehle) really loves his new chair. It’s red, probably an antique, and just so dang comfy. However, his girlfriend, Susan(Tifani Ahren Davis), is not a fan of the chair. How far will Bear go for his one true love?
Wow, this was a delight to watch. The acting was superb, the story quirky, and the writing was super sharp and witty. Right from the beginning it’s made clear who Bear is and what his motivations are. I was instantly on board till the end. I didn’t connect with Bear on a personal level, but the writing was so good that I still couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do next. It hooked me from the first minute and I was smiling till the end.
6 out of 6 Reels
directed by DiaaBahaaElDein
A man is getting ready to see his daughter when suddenly, a drug addict attacks him in his apartment. However, this drug addict seems very similar to his victim in more ways than one.
A moving and emotional piece that explores addiction and the choices made that effect an addicts day-to-day activities. In many ways the short plays out similar to a horror film with the scenes being visceral and disturbing. A strong and silent performance along with great direction and camerawork make this a very powerful piece. The subject may hit hard for some viewers but the message is still important.
5 out of 6 Reels
directed by Naim David
Another normal night for your friendly neighborhood pizza delivery guy(Mickey Phelan). Well it was normal until he makes a delivery to a girl(Celeste Blandon), her face spattered in blood.
A horror short that will constantly shock you as a pizza delivery guys shift becomes more absurd by the moment. The performances are great and the script is well written. Everything up to a point was done well, but then things started to derail for me. Without spoilers all I can is that shit gets real crazy. This film is definitely entertaining, but for me the motivations of the characters seemed messy by the end. If you enjoy crazy imaginative plots this film is for you.
4 out of 6 Reels
Well, Slicers, THAT’S THAT! We hope you enjoyed our review of all of the official selections of the first ever SUDS & CINEMA – Grove City! SLICE THE PLANET!
Following CinemaSlice’s first ever Suds & Cinema event in Grove City, OH, we just had to write up mini reviews for each official selection that screened! Without further ado, let’s get into these REEL REVIEWS!
directed by NaimDavid
A woman(Mary K. Riestenberg) begins to clean up after the gruesome murder of another woman(CelesteBlandon). She quickly finds that there are more important things to worry about than her blood soaked hands.
A very effective horror short in terms of setting and characters. In the short runtime it is well established that something terrifying has happened. The actors do a tremendous job with their movements and mannerisms to help flesh out this feeling of dread. I could have used a more in terms of plot but I understand that this was probably a purposeful choice.
4 out of 6 Reels
directed by MatthewMCREllisonII
The psychedelic trip of a clown whose drink of choice is Corn 4 Gold.
An animated short done in a very unique and creative style. As a piece of art this is a captivating look into a mad alternate universe where everything pulses with a fast and frenetic energy. Looking at it as a film, I would say it’s lacking in plot with no real narrative thread to speak of.
3 out of 6 Reels
directed by AlexCaperton
A girl(RachelHass) is having a fun and relaxing night eating junk food and playing video games. Fun and relaxing until she hears a sound coming from outside her bedroom window.
This horror short has a nice advancement of creeping dread from beginning to end. I enjoyed the use of video gaming in the film. As a video gamer I use the hobby as a relaxer and can imagine how the girl may have felt before the creepy events begin. Personally, the ending left me on a bit of a cliffhanger and I would have liked to have seen more. A very effective thriller nonetheless.
4 out of 6 Reels
directed by MichaelDeSanto
Amanda(KenziePhillips) and Ryan(CharlesWetzelJr.) have just purchased a new home. Hilarity ensues when they find that the house is very lonely and would like some special favors done in return.
Enjoyable horror comedy that has fun characters and writing that is consistently funny. The writing is effective in that each character is specifically written for. This makes the characters distinctive and they don’t share the same jokes and personalities. I also have to mention the special effects, which were stellar for a low-budget film. My only minor criticism is that the story, while still very funny, was a bit disjointed and felt like we were just moving from scene to scene without much substance. Still a very funny and crowd pleasing film.
5 out of 6 Reels
directed by ChristianBlackthorne
Sometimes breaking off a relationship can lead to some very dire consequences.
This very short horror clip definitely succeeded in setting a very dark and grim tone right from the start. A very unsettling visual accompanied by a gritty atmosphere made for a nightmarish combo. It seemed to play more like a trailer, however, and I was left wanting more. It would be very interesting to see this idea expanded upon in the future to give the viewer more to sink their teeth into.
3 out of 6 Reels
directed by EricMishne
Connie(Rachel Luther) and Parker(Colin Luther) are traveling the United States with dreams of traveling the world. Their plans hit a snag when their car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road. They are not concerned until a stranger(Chris Johnson) in a pickup truck pulls up behind them.
This short was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, the characters and especially the film’s conclusion. The plot is straightforward, putting us in a believable scenario that many enjoy doing, traveling the world. It then establishes characters that we can see ourselves as and puts them in a scenario that we all hate, our car breaking down. It wraps up brilliantly with an ending that I won’t give away, but I will say to go back and give this a second watch. Little details will emerge that go unnoticed on the first viewing and the experience will become that much more enjoyable.
6 out of 6 Reels
That’s it for PART1!!! Tune in next time for the mini reel review of the remaining films featured at SUDS & CINEMA – Grove City!
Ben and Anna have been dating for two years and Ben is ready to pop the question. We see this very clearly within the first few moments of the short film BrainEngagement, a short romantic comedy directed by PatrickNeff. How Ben, played by BrennenThompson, planson accomplishing this goal is not so clear. Anna, played by KristinMellian, certainlyseemsinterested in starting a life together. Ben can’t be for certain, however, until he finally asks “Will you marry me?”. He only has his heart and emotions to talk to. A heart and emotions that get angry, crack jokes, problem solve, and celebrate. It’s almost as if the emotions were real people themselves…
BrainEngagement was a joy to watch from start to finish. Being a Rom/Com this film had two aspects to focus on. It needs a relationship the viewer wants to root for and enjoyable, well written humor. BrainEngagement absolutely nails both. As Ben goes through his journey throughout the film you feel all the emotions that he is feeling, which makes the ending all the more meaningful. The moments of levity are also amazing with great jokes that are cleverly written and engaging to the story. Relatability and comedy combine together perfectly in Brain Engagement and that gives the film a lot of heart.
My one criticism of BrainEngagement is that, while it’s plot is perfect in execution, it’s lacking in originality. Not giving away any spoilers, I would have to say that I’ve seen this plot device used in comedy’s and animated features in the past. It’s a only minor criticism because of what BrainEngagement manages to do. In roughly 15 minutes BrainEngagement has more laughs, love, and charm then some other movies have with a full length runtime.
BrainEngagement does what I feel every short film should try to carry out. It gets the viewer excited about what they just watched, but also leaves them wanting more content in the same universe. More of the continued relationship between Ben and Anna, and more of Ben’s hilarious internal emotional struggles.
The film Holmes and Watson had a fun and new twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 0% (Now up to 9%) despite it being a good film with impressive acting chops from both John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell. Not only is it funny but it’s an entertaining whodunnit style film that zigs right when you expect it to zag all the way throughout. There’s even a hysterical musical number thrown in without warning and I definitely appreciated it.
Sadly it is one of those comedies where you either enjoy the style or you don’t. Some reviews I’ve read compared it to Step Brothers which I’d agree with, the chemistry between John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell is undeniably perfect. They feed off one another in such a way that you’d think they were created for each other, like Laurel and Hardy.
In my book this film holds a 5 out of 6 reels.
And I’m excited to see more Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly collaborations regardless of what the critics say.
Bay City’s Hells Half Mile Fest wrapped about a week ago and I’m back with some coverage from the final day. The past couple of days I had attended movies that were more tension filled and suspenseful. On the last day I wanted a taste of something different so I ended up attending a comedy and a drama that I found particularly interesting. We’ll start off with “The Go-Getters”.
“The Go-Getters”, directed by Jeremy Lalonde, is one of the most heartfelt, extremely vulgar, and entertaining comedies I have ever watched. The premise is simple, in order to fix up their extremely messed up lives Owen (Aaron Abrams),a drug addict, and Lacie(Tommie-Amber Pirie), a prostitute, must raise 98 dollars in order to buy two bus tickets out of town. Try as they might, this simple task proves to be an extremely impossible, dangerous, harmful and hilarious task in more ways than one. I found this movie immensely enjoyable. Although it isn’t for the easily offended, it was very charming similar to the tv series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. The characters are nasty and deplorable, but through good comedic acting, direction, and writing(Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall) you are rooting for them all the same. Continue reading “HHM Day 4”→