Thursday, March 11, 2010

'Death in Charge' is excellent horror short

Death In Charge (2008)
Starring: Marina Benedict, Kylie Chalia and Gillian Shure
Director: Devi Snively
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

When an indifferent mother (Shure) mistakes the Grim Reaper (Benedict) for a babysitter and rushes off for the night, Death gains a new perspective on life while spending an evening with a nine-year-old girl (Chalia).

"Death in Charge" is an interesting film that packs more interesting character development into its 15-minute running time than many films manage to do with 115 minutes. Most impressive about the film is the take on the personification of Death, and actress Marina Benedict manages to bring many dimensions to this character, dimensions that range from humorous to chilling. (It's funny to see Death try to get the attention of a mother so preoccupied with her upcoming date that she can't tell the Grim Reaper from a goth babysitter, but it's chilling to watch Death go about her business as the film draws to a close.)

Well-staged and well-acted, the main thrust of the film has us see Death learning about the little joys of life from a little girl, in a part of the film that is humorous and touching... even if we know that something is going to go wrong. And that "something" is when the girl callously kills a bunch of Sea Monkeys, because she is disgusted by the fact they don't resemble the cartoon animals on the box when they come to life in the water. Benedict manages to convey heartbreak as Death--who had been enjoying eating Mac 'n' Cheese, playing video games, and seeing the Sea Monkeys spring to life before her very eyes--sadly remembers her reason for being as she watches the Sea Monkeys die.

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