As we all must, Delia is getting older. As we reach a certain age, with more years behind us than ahead, we definitely cherish the smaller things much more - than we did during our youth. As for the bigger things? They become our world, as it seemingly begins closing in around us. When dealing with loss, especially when speaking of our lifelong companions, husbands or friends, old man time deals a double whammy. Not only does our already shrinking world become that much smaller - but that fear of being alone becomes much more than a shadow in our minds. That other hit I spoke of? The inevitability of it all. The knowledge that soon our time will come as well. The reaper is always waiting for our clocks to chime their final toll.
Delia is one such example. Her recent loss is rendered all the more difficult because of her fear. Her fear of stairs, of falling. This fear is so strong, that Delia has even refused to attend the wake of her partner. This... fear of falling has rendered her much older than she is - much more frail. It's only when she begins looking for something left to her, that she again, attempts to keep at bay her growing fears. There are stairs to be used. Fears to be overtaken. "Descensus Ad Mortem" is that journey. Delia's need to overcome her fears. One step at a time.
Speaking of time, let me cut straight to the point. There is a lot of good contained in this short film. There is also a lot of mediocre - and being honest? Most of the less than stellar stuff could, and should, have been left on the cutting room floor. So to speak. Visually, we have a mixed bag. Some shots are great. Well composed and steady. These shots move the story forward and help earn this film it's stars. Others... not so much. A prime example happens within the first minute of the film. As Delia lay down in her bed, the camera jitters away it's silent tune. I'm not talking about a shaking, hand held shot - I'm talking about a jittery visual that literally vibrates until the shots completion. There is nothing more distracting than a vibrating shot - that looks like it has a frame rate issue. Making matters worse? It wasn't even needed. This entire sequence could have been left out - with no hit to the story at all. I understood the meaning of the scene. To demonstrate visually, Delia's loss. However, that same demonstration could have been accomplished with the very next scene. During the wake. The entire jittery mess served no purpose - aside from being distracting.
"Descensus Ad Mortem" contains lots of shots and scenes like this. Not needed at all. In my humble opinion, this film should have only been around seven minutes. Maybe eight. The rest is just filler - and a lot of that filler does the movie no justice. As they say... if it doesn't move the story forward cut it out. If it's already been done, or will be done later... cut it out. Most of the visuals that were not up to par were not even needed, especially the truly extended stair sequences. Other than that, we have the standard low budget issues from time to time. A backing score that was louder than it should have been, and some clarity issues during some of the dialog scenes. Nothing major mind you... but noticed.
On the plus side is Carol Hannan as Delia. She really did a great job in the leading role. You can almost feel her fear, sense her sadness. It's clear she's on the verge of giving up during the first and second acts - and her ability to overcome filled my heart. Maybe not perfect, but a damn fine performance.
This is not a perfect film. It does however, have a good story and is more than enough to keep people interested. The good is so good in fact, that had this film contained a tighter edit, I probably would have awarded another full star. Of course, my opinion is my own and when it comes to film - the viewers will be the final judges. For myself? A solid two and a half stars.