Before we dive into this, let’s stand off to the side for a moment of silence and show respect at the title of this short film: David French Is a Piece of Sh*t and I Want Him Dead. It takes around five seconds to say, and a few more if you spend a couple of them gobsmacked that anyone would have the audacity to name a movie thusly, much less a live-action short. Yet, there it is, and that swagger sets the tone for the piece. It screeches in on fire and maintains that in-your-face attitude.
“When the guitarist and bass player…see their manager chatting up David French, they are so enraged…”
A title card quotes Aldous Huxley, “Perhaps it’s good for one to suffer. Can an artist do anything if he’s happy?” The happy artist in question is James (Charles Allan-Hodson), lead singer for Bad Penny. We meet the rock band at a club gig, where the opening act, French Kiss, fronted by the eponymous David French (Lee West), gets a much more enthusiastic reaction from the crowd. Bad Penny, it seems, were on their way to fame and fortune until James met his girlfriend Heather (Hattie Seaton), and would now rather make out with her backstage than perform on it. Their show is as unfocused as James himself. When the guitarist and bass player for the band see their manager chatting up David French, they are so enraged that they decide to take steps.
Writer/ director Mark van Heusden strips the story down to its absolute essence. There is no wasted motion. There are no filler lines. He pulls up in a dark, manic, hilarious vibe and takes us on the joyride with all that intact.
Is it horror? Is it a thriller? Is it a slasher? Is it a comedy? Yes, to all of the above. David French Is a Piece of Sh*t and I Want Him Dead is a filmmaking masterclass delivered in just 11 minutes.
David French Is a Piece of Sh*t and I Want Him Dead screened at the 2020 Hollyshorts Film Festival.
"…screeches in on fire and maintains that in-your-face attitude."