What if you knew that you wouldn’t die? What risks would you take with your own life, or that of your friends? Rob Grant directs this short film that asks that very question. Spoilers ahead.
Three bullied high school seniors, Marshall, Leonard, and Dermot, are chased from winter formal and end up in a horrific car accident. In the aftermath, Marshall and Leonard discover they have the ability to ‘reappear’ completely healed after they die, while Dermot survives the accident but is paralyzed. Marshall tries to convince Leonard that they should kill Dermot so he will reappear healed before the police show up, rather than leave him paralyzed…
Director: Rob Grant — Writer: Rob Grant & Stu Marks — Producers: Luke Black & Peter Harvey
We had a chance to screen this short ahead of its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this month. With a short run time of 12:15, this film packs a lot of questions that keep you asking well beyond the closing credits. As a Science Fiction Thriller, this film is shows us 3 young men (Played by Connor Jessup, Alex Harrouch and Aidan Green) who are doing anything they can to escape the constant bullying at school. Marshall (Jessup) decides to grab the wheel and crash the car. When we see him again, he is outside the car free of any injury.
Are they zombies then? No, not really. This ‘power’ that they have brings up the question of how Marshall knew what would happen. Simple, he had already tried it earlier. The real question is what would happen if it was limited in the number of times it could be used? We don’t want to reveal exactly what happens when this ability is used, but needless to say you will want to watch to find out.
During the 10 minutes between the crash and the police showing up, we get a great back and forth between our characters about how to handle Dermot’s paralysis and if he too will be saved as the other 2 were. Could you kill another person? Could you do it while not being 100% sure that it would work? Every moment leading up to the answer is both thrilling and nerve-racking. Jessup has a knack for dark story lines, including his other gritty indie project ‘Blackbird’. Unlike Blackbird, in What Doesn’t Kill You Jessup doesn’t act the tortured soul you might think after being bullied throughout school. He is in the stage of being on a high of power knowing he has this ability and the power that gives him.
Rob Grant does a great job with some very simple VFX to enhance the horror feel of the scene and the actions of the 3 boys. Each actor expresses extreme talent on-screen and a believable sense of fear as they debate the action they are about to take. This is a must see for any fan of independent film.
We give it a 4.5/5.
Visit TIFF.net to learn more about showings.
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