Directed By: Marc Cartwright, Written By: Marc Cartwright & Cassie Keet, Starring: Ashley Jones, Baker Chase Powell & Samantha Boscarino.
A short film, when done well, can be an extraordinary beast. Where a feature film will usually take anywhere between 90 minutes to three hours to tell a story, a short film has a very limited runtime to set the tone, build its characters and take you on a journey to a compelling and satisfying conclusion. No easy feat by any stretch of the imagination.
How are we meant to care about the outcome if we have mere minutes to get to know the characters?
To suck you in and tick all the boxes that make a story engaging in such a condensed time frame is something that many try and so few succeed in accomplishing. This is, however, something that We Die Alone pulls off effortlessly.
With a runtime of just 24 minutes, We Die Alone crams in a lot, yet it never feels rushed or overstuffed.
The story is a simple one. One that I felt I had seen many times before. So smug was I that I knew this kind of story inside-out that I found myself falling flat on my arse when the rug was so violently yanked from beneath me. To spill the beans and spoil this wicked deception would be a disservice to both the film and the viewer. So I’m keeping quiet, schtum, zipped. No sir, I won’t be revealing a thing.
The plot focuses on Aiden (Baker Chase Powell), an awkward loner whose insecurities cause him to agree to dates online and then blow them off at the last second. He longs to meet the right woman but is too shy to go out and ‘actually’ meet her. His work colleague, Elaine (Ashley Jones) clearly likes Aiden, but her own insecurities prevent her from telling him how she feels. Consequently, she finds herself stuck in the friend zone.
Things start to look up when Chelsea (Samantha Boscarino) moves into the building. She’s bright, attractive and seems to share many of Aiden’s quirks. He is instantly smitten and quickly invites her over for an evening of jigsaw puzzle high jinks. Seriously, how he has remained single for so long is a complete mystery. Nothing loosens a lady’s undergarments like a jigsaw puzzle.
Now, this is where I came unstuck in assuming that I had the film pegged. The first two-thirds of the film had me believing that I was watching something akin to 2012s Maniac remake. Aiden shares many similar traits to Elijah Wood’s Frank, right down to his creepy use of store-front mannequin’s.
As I said, I thought I had this film pegged. I thought I’d seen it all before. I’m delighted to be very wrong.
Written by Marc Cartwright and Cassie Keet and directed by Marc Cartwright, We Die Alone is a beautifully shot film. The actors do a fantastic job of fleshing out their characters in less than half an hour. Misdirection is the films greatest strength and if a movie can leave me, (a seasoned genre pro, who thinks he knows all there is to know), thinking, ‘well, I never saw that coming,’ then that is quite an achievement.
I hope We Die Alone finds a vast audience with which to showcase the obvious, considerable talents of the filmmakers. I, for one, loved it and look forward to seeing what they come up with next.