We all love a good yarn involving the supernatural. Hell, movies and television have always had a soft spot for such things - it's what viewers want, what they need. So, it's no surprise that Joshua Nelson would attempt to get in on the paranormal action with his short film, "Special" that could also serve as a pilot episode for a series. I'm pretty sure having an ongoing show is the goal, and I think it would be a great idea.
"Special" follows multiple story threads as it unfolds its premise neatly into the viewer's lap. First, we have Paulie, a hitman with a very unique way of ending the lives of his targets. They all seemingly die of natural causes - and there's a reason for this. Paulie's secret sauce is his daughter, who has a gift. She possesses supernatural abilities which include being able to kill with just a thought. She's special, and she's not alone. So far, one other person possesses this gift and as luck would have it, they are both in the same city. The catch? When using their gift to hurt/kill people, they themselves suffer the same pain they're inflicting.
Obviously, they don't die... but all the pain they put out, they must also endure. It's an interesting concept, and one that could easily be built upon down the road. Threaded alongside, and connecting things, are the stories of a woman and her family abused by a crooked, and drug-addicted cop boyfriend - and some severe family issues for both of our superhero women. The truth is that there's a lot of potential with this concept, and while not completely realized within this episode/short film, where things could go is really interesting.
"Special" is, as I'm sure you've guessed, a low-budget film. So expect a few blown out shots here and there, and maybe some fickle performances. What I did notice was the frequent use of stock footage, in places that probably could have gone without. I almost feel like there was an attempt to make "Special" longer than it should have been. The stock footage was one of those ways. A perfect example of what I'm talking about would be a scene involving Robbie and his daughter - talking about what he makes her do. Instead of a clean cut to the next scene, which was someone screaming in pain, there's a cut to a stock cityscape. Not only was this not needed, but it actually felt awkward - and more or less this same formula was used almost a dozen times it felt like.
The performances were another thing I noticed. For the most part, the key cast all did a great job - and I'm not kidding. But some of the supporting roles felt really over-dramatic sometimes. Even dare I write... forced. Don't get me wrong, even the more awkward performances are not bad, just not as good as some of the others.
The quick and short of things is this... I would love to see more of these characters and this story. It's a great little spin on a tired genre. Everything isn't perfect, but the same can be said of entire seasons of shows that went on to become hits. The important pieces are all in place, key cast members have already begun to get into their roles. I really hope things progress and this idea, this potential series continues forward. Well done... and I absolutely loved the final line, and the way this short film ended. It was perfect.