Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Little Reaper Short Film Review

Athena Baumeister & John Paul Ouvrier (back) in Little Reaper

What's a Grim Reaper to do, when his only child wants no part of the "family business?" That's the quandary presented by filmmaker Peter Dukes (Dream Seekers Productions) in his playful short Little Reaper, a 10-minute jab at all of us who think it's easy chasing souls day after day after day.

Advertised as horror comedy, Dukes keeps the former to a minimum... focusing his attention instead on "bringing the funny," something he manages with great success, thanks to stars Athena Baumeister and John Paul Ouvrier. Baumeister is terrific as a reluctant Reaper in training, 'All the cool girls get to be banshees;' while Ouvrier lets his (rolling) eyes do all the talking, when laying down the law and offering his daughter what she wants most, 'Un-grounded, right?' Isn't it amazing what a kid will do, in order to get what they want?

Unfortunately, the younger Reaper stinks at... reaping (unless reaping is another word for talking on the cell phone, something she's very, very good at.) Various people drop dead like flies, while Little Reaper argues the difficulties of finding a prom dress that goes well with tentacles. She even takes time to poke fun at the most famous undead couple in the biz, Edward & Bella (after spying them at Forever 21.)

You have to hand it to Dukes: He has a way with words... and pictures. Little Reaper is full of wonderful little moments, (i.e. a dying man's wife who just happens to be reading a book titled "A Perfect Husband," which obviously has nothing to do with the guy lying next to her.) Pops and daughter are terrific, as is their makeup. The film makes a last minute grab at horror, when Little Reaper sees the consequences of her inactivity... something I could have probably done without; but overall, another superb effort by my favorite short filmmaker. Stay tuned through the credits for Mad Planet's Pieces of You.... Great song.

P.S. I hate "faux apologies" too; but Dukes has nothing to be sorry for, when it comes to the creative (not to mention, old school) means by which the Grim Reaper keeps tabs on all those deaths. Here's a hint: It beeps.

Grade: B