By Brad Wilke | December 1, 2008

“The Undertaker”, a short film by Swati Kapila, is about a young boy named Victor (Travis Stella) who serves as an apprentice to Mr. Kaufmann (Tod Engle), an undertaker.

Seemingly obsessed with death (Victor prefers to spend his downtime in a coffin), he is preternaturally mature, a distant film cousin to Bud Cort’s Harold. When his boss is strong-armed into disposing of what seems to be mob-related murder, Victor lends a hand in helping his boss deal with this unfortunate predicament.

He does this by posing as a dead child at a fake funeral to throw the FBI off the scent.

It works, his boss’s business is saved and Victor is hired for a full-time position. And that’s the end of the movie.

This is a competently made short, but it never really finds its footing. The laughs feel forced and the dark tone feels unnatural. There’s very little character development and the payoff at the end isn’t big enough to justify such a shortcoming.

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