Friday, February 23, 2007

Review: Film Short "The Deader the Better" by James Rolfe

The first thing many would ask when they see the title of this review is "Who is James Rolfe?"

Well, the YouTube fanatics in the crowd might recognize him by his popular, foul-mouthed alter ego: The Angry Nintendo Nerd.

So then the next question is pretty obvious, too: Why would you review a film from that Angry Nintendo Nerd guy? All he does is drink, curse, and ramble on about video games.

The answer is obvious when you watch his short films: James Rolfe is actually a talented filmmaker.

The Deader the Better is a short horror/comedy about two guys - Lloyd and Earl - who work the night shift at a graveyard. There job: keep the dead dead. In this one cemetery, the dead have a bad habit of coming back to life, and it's Lloyd's job to stop them by any means necessary; Earl doesn't approve of Lloyd's messy execution since it's his job to clean the graveyard back up so no one knows what happens when darkness falls. It's a strange concept, but it works surprisingly well.

The best aspect of the film is the technical film making. As evidenced by James Rolfe's work on The Angry Nintendo Nerd, he knows how to properly frame a shot, edit footage, and piece everything together so that the audience is never bored. It's solid, creative film work and his efforts certainly pay off with this short.

What's so great about the technicals? The use of color. The short, shot in black and white, only incorporates one color during the graveyard sequences: red. Whenever there is blood, you will know it. Also great? The gore. I am a firm believer that there is nothing a computer can do for traditional gore that cannot be accomplished better with practical effects, and this short proves both points at once. The practical effects are perfectly convincing, while the digitally enhanced scene - however necessary for maintaining the tone and style of the short - do work, but are not as convincing as the practical effects.

I guess all I'm trying to say is this: "The Deader the Better" is a pretty impressive short that shows illustrates James Rolfe's potential to really make something truly great.

Varb For Me