Scammers Image


By Bobby LePire | April 6, 2024

Writer-director Carl Kelsch’s short film Scammers is a unique blend of comedy and drama. It takes us on a journey with Nick (Daniel Stewart Sherman), a man who scours parking lots in his New Jersey town. His mission? To find cars with minor dents and scam the owners by claiming he can fix them for a fraction of the cost charged by auto body shops.

One fateful day, Nick embarks on a scamming adventure with his daughter, Tasha (Nico Schumacher), reluctantly in tow. Tasha, torn between loyalty and her moral compass, even selects the unsuspecting victim of the day: Oliver (Jervon Monroe), a young man struggling with rent payments. Will Nick’s conscience prevail, or will he continue to exploit the innocent? Can Tasha convince her father to abandon his life of deception?

“…cars with minor dents and scam the owners by claiming he can fix them…”

Scammers, in terms of direction, is a masterclass in simplicity. The film’s straightforward setups, basic coverage, and unobtrusive edits allow the story and performances to take center stage. The script is intelligent, with unexpected twists that keep the audience engaged. The natural performances and realistic dialogue further enhance the film’s authenticity. A poignant scene where Tasha pleads with Nick to abandon their life of crime, even if just for her birthday, is a testament to the director’s ability to establish character dynamics without heavy exposition. An amusing encounter with Oliver’s unpleasant landlady adds depth to the victim’s character.

Nick should, by rights, be hateable. But Sherman’s charming in an odd way. He can spin a believable yarn, if it is false, to schmoove and motivate others. Schumacher is a delight, projecting cunning and love. Monroe excels as the put-upon Oliver, who gets in over his head.

Scammers is enjoyable until it is wrapping up. The story swerve elevates a decent film into something much more clever. It reveals the true point Kelsch is going for while still making complete sense with everything that came before. The cast anchors this turn wonderfully, and the final few seconds offer the perfect button to end on.

Scammers (2024)

Directed and Written: Carl Kelsch

Starring: Daniel Stewart Sherman, Nico Schumacher, Jervon Monroe, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Scammers Image

"…the final few seconds offer the perfect button to end on."

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