If ever anyone asks you to describe what an indie horror production or short film is, send them a link to Dead Celebrities. This film both breaks the mold while setting the standard for where indie needs to be. Allow me to explain…
Many indie short films try hard to be five to twenty-five-minute versions of a feature film. They try hard to compress and concentrate enormous amounts of subject matter into provocative, content-heavy hors d’oeuvres. I can respect this and have seen many great shorts that follow this formula. It works and it is safe. Dead Celebrities does not, at all, follow this trend.
Dead Celebrities is a story-driven short film that blends the traditional, the sacrificial, and the fantastic. It has that same distaste for fame that was present in Starry Eyes (2014) and tries to push that narrative a little further. There’s a lot that one can read into, especially with themes equating celebrity to immortality, the cultish nature of fame and its inner circles, and the literal and figurative sacrifices that one needs to make to become famous and stay relevant.
The film’s commentary on fame and popular culture aside, the entire bathroom plot is the real gem here; an immensely clever tale that is surprisingly believable as a plot. It’s witty, comedic, a little tongue-in-cheek and ultimately the best kind of toilet humour I’ve encountered in a long while. Without giving too much away, the premise of the film is an explanation as to why a disproportionate number of celebrities die in bathrooms—and the reason is far more sinister than you could ever imagine.
Dead Celebrities is a dark comedy that is well acted, intelligent, original, and a completely fresh play on the old “deal with the devil” trope. I really enjoyed it for a number of reasons; the slight but necessary overacting, the seemingly well-researched and original story, and the campy characters. It’s a good short film—not perfect, but in my mind very much what I expect the quintessential, archetypal horror short to be: fresh, fun, original, and smart. It’s a complete, perfect story on it’s own and not a part of something bigger, which is often something short films become—a portion of a bigger imagining. If you are in the UK and have the chance to check it out—do so. I’ll post the upcoming screening dates, as well as the poster and trailer below. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid.
Upcoming screenings for Dead Celebrities:
19th – 21st July Griffstock, Newbury, Hermitage, UK
August 2 – 4, 2019, Scares That Care Charity Weekend Film Festival, Williamsburg, Virginia
Aug 30 – Sept 1, Reels of the Dead: DotD Red Track, Louisville, Kentucky ??
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