I love watching films which have a dark side to them, and I find if you throw in a comedic twist to the darkness, and it's crafted well, you can have such an amazing piece of film on your hands. But let's face it there aren't many that can pull that off to perfection. 'Little Reaper' on the other hand is truly imaginative and it possesses a slight horror vibe with dark comedy, and it is pulled off with ease. You can see the word that has gone into this short film, and after viewing this, I do want to see where it could go. There are many short films out there that cannot suck you in, because they do not develop the characters and they have a very 'beige' narrative. 'Little Reaper' knows exactly what it is and where it is going, and if given the recognition and the time and support, this film could go somewhere. Film maker Peter Dukes has quite a special story on his hands, and there are so many avenues in which he could take this.
The rundown is very simple here we have Little Reaper who is the teenage daughter of the Grim Reaper, and he now wants to give her some responsibility, he wants her to realise she will be following in his footsteps, so she has to do his job for a day; hey it's the only way she will be un-grounded and what teenager wants to be grounded right? She begins her day watching people who are at risk of dying and as they do she doesn't collect their souls because she is too busy on the phone sorting out her social life. It's a very simple premise, easy to follow, and the results of narrative are fun and very enjoyable. Athena Baumeister portrays Little Reaper and what can I say, she relishes in this role, it was so natural and the father/daughter dynamic between her and her dad the Grim Reaper played by John Paul Ouvrier, was so natural and authentic. You can really believe this relationship exists.
I really enjoyed the score to this film because it reminded me of a Danny Elfman film score, and that music really helped the mood and overall tone of the film. Music is such a powerful thing and if it's used to a point where it can describe the mood of the story and the characters journey, then its definitely successful. While this would be extremely interesting to see if it got made into a live action feature film, I think this would be brilliant to watch in an animated form which is similar to 'Corpse Bride' and 'A Nightmare Before Christmas', because it definitely does have the same aura as those films, but it's original and definitely not a copy.
I thoroughly enjoyed 'Little Reaper', and I really hope that something more becomes of this short film, because it is truly enjoyable, fun, and it has a lot of ideas and a strong sense of direction. It is really exciting seeing such a high bar set for a short film, I hope to see more from the film maker and the actors involved, because they did such a fantastic job, which is definitely well above average.
Here is the video so you can check it out!