Tommy Kear, Harry Metcalfe
The afterlife. The ultimate mystery that truly can never be solved - that is... until it's our time. Many theories exist - but none more believed than the concept of heaven and hell. You lean more on the good side of life, heaven awaits. More on the bad side? You get the idea. But as Grim himself points out, what happens if you fall right smack dab in the middle? Not enough good for heaven but not enough bad for hell. What awaits you then? Writers Tommy Kear and Harry Metcalfe have the answer... you become a reaper, the actual Grim Reaper.
In this short film, Libby is your average, if not slightly more smart-ass, run of the mill young woman. Her only problem? She's recently died and is now standing face to face with death himself. Only, he's not looking to send her up or down - in his mind, she's been sent to replace him becoming the next lady Grim. After the brief but necessary bout of denial, Libby proceeds to shadow the shadow and learn the ropes of becoming a grim gatekeeper. I won't go into the comical details of what follows, but we all know how this film ends and that's all right. "Becoming Grim" as the title suggests is about the journey, not the destination.
Without question, I was reminded of the television show "Dead Like Me" but that is in no way is a bad thing. That show had a great concept, and this short film is no different. Simply put, a good idea or premise provides loads of creativity and inspiration. "Becoming Grim" may be similar in concept but by no means a copy. This particular film also had a unique ability that allowed it to grow on me, and quickly, I no longer noticed many of the technical, tell-tale hallmarks of independent film. The blending of concept, dialog, and likable characters made sure of that - as did many of the gags. The way to a persons heart is through comedy they say... or something like that. "Becoming Grim" was a fun-filled stroll through the between world of life and death. Of that, there is no question.
There's no mistaking this is an independent film. From the bouncy, jumpy shots to the not quite perfect audio, "Becoming Grim" is not one of those movies that blur the line between an indie or heavily budgeted studio production. At the same time, there's absolutely no reason not to check out this movie. It may be independent, but it's independent done well. As I mentioned above, although the production may be technically less than perfect, it has a tendency to grow on you. It did for me at least. About fifteen minutes(ish) in I stopped caring or even noticing anything technical, and was simply along for the ride.
The truth is that my rating for the first eleven or so minutes by themselves, would probably have been less, if I hadn't got so caught up in the second and third act. It all came down to two main things I imagine. The well-written dialog and the excellent performances from Ivan Moy and Francesca Louise White. Even the occasional slightly over-the-top deliveries from White as Libby, seemed to work into the comedic presentation of the film. All in all, things are kept light and airy and it all works so very well, considering the potentially darker content. If I did have any expectations that were not met, it would be for something I felt was actually coming onscreen, and never did. Near the very end of the film, Libby has to reap someone from the start of the movie. The seeds were all planted that he may have been sick, but it would have been cool to have had a full flashback sequence - reminders that the signs were all there right from the start. This is hardly a slight to the film, just something that for whatever reason I expected to see.
When it's all said and done I really enjoyed "Becoming Grim" and chuckled more than a couple times. For those who read this, and are perhaps on the fence a little, let me write this. Give "Becoming Grim" at least fifteen minutes of your time - if after that you're still not digging it, feel free to bitch me out in the comments below. For myself however, a solid four stars.