14 February 2019 | zandertowne
Good Premise, Shame the Screenplay Was AWOL
When a really short film drags by, something is definitely wrong. Here we had an original premise and a clever solution to the super micro-budget dilemma: Tasmania evacuated (but not destroyed) and, apparently, overrun by ghosts who you can only occasionally see. One man goes looking for his brother and we cut back and forth between the two of them wandering the empty countryside. I saw where another critic once said "A premise is not a story", and I'll modify that a bit here to say "A premise is not a screenplay". In this case the writer/director, Jason Trost, did have a story he wanted to tell but he simply had know idea how to go about it.
So we have a film which has attractive shots of a lone individual walking, or sitting, but that's literally almost all they do. There's a few potentially chilling scenes that are not chilling, with a small number of minimalist, but effective special effects. Yet the premise is never intelligently developed or believably presented. And to make matters worse, the intrepid writer/director casts himself as one of the leads (with the most lines, but since he's kinda talking to a radio it doesn't really count as dialogue) but the poor chap has less screen presence than a potato and seems about as invested in his performance as an exhausted man waiting for a bus. And by the end we are left to wonder if the whole thing was just a metaphor, because if it's supposed to be happening in reality it missed the mark even further. In the end, a nice looking film, and a promising concept, poorly served and tediously delivered. I don't hate myself for having watched it but I don't hate myself for looking at a bowl of soggy cereal either; yet if you're expecting something tasty, both will prove seriously disappointing, and possibly leave a bad taste in your mouth.