FILM INFO: A man who's just been shot wakes up in a nightmarish limbo where he must figure out who shot him in order to survive.
WRITTEN BY: Ziyad Saadi DIRECTED BY: Ziyad Saadi GENRE: Thriller TIME: 8 minutes
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Hello, My Name Is Death ( 2015 )
Short Film Review
Supernatural films, shorts and series seem to be dominating the screen now days and it's no wonder. With so much potential content and interpretation of said content, the story ideas are endless and generally entertaining. Humanity, as a whole has always wondered about what comes next. Creating films asking or pointing out that very question have always been popular. The problem begins when, with such high numbers, the stories all begin to sound the same and originality becomes lost in the shuffle. Does that lower the entertainment value of a well done film or short? Not really. Something comforting exists with a story we all know... with a fresh twist. "Hello, My Name Is Death" offers one such twist. The chance to seemingly come back from the other side. Figure out how you died and get another chance. But wait! Could that really be the case? If so, maybe that explains the overpopulation of the world. With a 50/50 chance though, wouldn't there be more people? Or maybe only people that were murdered get the chance to choose? Or, even scarier a thought, maybe only the ones destined for hell get the choice. Or perhaps maybe, just maybe... I'm reading into this way to much. Let's get back on topic. "Hello, My Name Is Death" is an interesting few minutes that visually, look rather nice. Chalked full of the "creep" factor, there's no doubt that director/writer Ziyad Saadi has delivered an above average short film. One that will hook you in for a few minutes but when it's all said and done, doesn't leave much to talk about at the water cooler. Do people even still do that? The technicalities presented, in regards to the production aspects, are quite impressive. Some excellent use of lighting and a skilled edit allow "Hello, My Name Is Death" to flow nicely from start to finish. You'll won't be reminded you're watching an indie flick, and won't have any issues watching through to the end. The breakdowns in the production, for me on a personal level, all revolve around the artistic choices made. Regarding these, let me remind you that when it comes to art... what happens to not be my cup of tea... may just be yours. I, personally, wasn't a fan of altering the voice of our main baddie. The Devil, or demon... or whoever she is. The voice filter adds an almost comic effect, completely off balancing the hellish limbo Mr. Saadi is working to create. I also wasn't a fan of some of the cut-ins. Mainly, the "hell is what you make it" ideal that breaks through every now and then. These two elements alone simply kept bringing me out of the film. They almost felt like a last minute addition, since they visually looked and sounded cool. But as they say, sometimes... it's all just to much. I also wasn't a fan of the overdone gestures from the cast. Such as, the constant rubbing of the forehead. Yes. I get it. He was shot in the head. Once that's established you don't need to keep doing it. After seeing it so much it simply became a joke making me wonder when he would finally break the skin and start bleeding everywhere. That may have been pretty cool actually. What I did like was the creepy smiling from the wife, and the constant return to the gun shot segment; something I felt really added to the overall feel of the film. I also found it a little refreshing to see an ending that on many levels, is left up to the viewer to interpret. Well done. Although not ground breaking, and by no means perfect, "Hello, My Name Is Death" offers some quick entertainment with a nice (creepy) backdrop and atmosphere. I could easily see elements of this story being adopted and made into a feature length film, which if done right could be a hit. A nice quick watch that won't ruin your mood for the day. Worth following up on. -JT