By Mark Bell | March 20, 2012

It’s Christmas Eve 1977, and a young girl (Emma Karwandy), expecting a visit from a jolly fat man in red, instead finds the Grim Reaper (Jeny Cassady) at her door. Turns out Christmas this year was not going to be too kind to our heroine, but Death made a misstep and arrived too early. Now he’s got to find a way to get the soul he came to collect, though the girl has a different idea.

What’s disappointing about this short film is how it gets so much right only to be undersold by the one-joke plot at its core. The effects work is great, the overall look distinctive, the acting wonderful, the sound spot-on; it’s 75% a great short film. But then it turns into a battle of wits and repartee that doesn’t really go anywhere. Almost like the concept was strong (young girl expecting Santa gets Death instead, only he’s early and she’s not ready to die), but no one knew really where it was supposed to go, or how it should end.

With the resources on display in this film, and the talent the filmmaker obviously has, I’m eager to check out another project, but maybe one where the story component comes from a different source. Given the same production expertise coupled with a more powerful plot to work outward from and I can easily see a truly brilliant short film coming from filmmaker Chad Costen. This one got close, but not close enough.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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