Genrevolt

August 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Released: 2012; Written and Directed by: Casey Dillard and Glenn Payne; With: Casey Dillard, Glenn Payne, Todd Barnett, Davis Manning

Genrevolt is clever from its title to its toes.  In this nine-minute gem, a couple of lovebirds named Shannon and Ben (Casey Dillard and Glenn Payne) bounce from scene to scene, experiencing a date in a sequence of moments from different genres of film.

They begin, in a fantastic technical parallel to any first date, in a horror movie.  Shannon brings Ben to an abandoned cabin in the woods, and just as things start to heat up, they begin hearing noises in the bushes.  They leave, in order to stay ahead of the machete-wielding maniac who’s coming their way.  Right before they leave, though, they make sure to indicate that they’ve left a group of their friends in order to get down, Shannon removes her impractical shoes, wondering aloud why she wore them into the woods in the first place, and Ben makes mention of a flight of stairs they might use as an escape route.  We then cut to the couple in a scene from a period drama, which gives us every cliché in the Jane Austen-penned book, right down to Ben’s ruffled collar.  As they jump from scene to scene, instead of staying ahead of the maniac they’re staying ahead of the genres, and a realistic and palpable objective is born.

This is a short film and the concept is novel, but the real strength here, outside of the performers’ obvious good senses of humor (and plain good senses) is that they’ve built a true momentum in to the film.  It would be easy to get hung up on keeping things witty and adroit, which might risk leaving the likable couple in one genre for too long.  But the desire to keep moving so that they might actually get to the light (and to the down-getting) at the end of the tunnel is a wonderfully fun way to drive this movie forward.

Dillard and Payne are sweet, and have solid chemistry and timing.  I think their real talent here, though, lies in the conceptualization and writing of this film.  It’s a really cohesive piece, while still allowing for laughter and finger-pointing at the flaws in each genre.  I think we often give shorter films less credit simply because they are shorter, but there’s a true art in knowing when a shorter piece is the most appropriate medium and executing that really well.  So I say, really well-done.

— Leah Gehlsen Morlan

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