“ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD” (Short Film Review)
Plenty of short films are made every minute and many of them find their way to our mailbox. Some are unwatchable, some are passable, some—the rare jewels—are fantastic. Navin Ramaswaran’s crackerjack micro-thriller ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD careens wildly into the fantastic arena, smashing against the world, destroying and bursting into a superlative display of bloody 4th of July fireworks. Yes indeed… this little flick is one of the good ones.
Before we proceed, full disclosure: OMFTR writer and producer Kelly Michael Stewart is both a FANGORIA contributor, a colleague and a friend. That said, this writer was largely ignorant of the in-and-out effort he cobbled together with Ramaswaran (the editor of the equally sharp short FAMILIAR) so when Stewart actually showed me the picture, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The movie is a simple, economical slice of Hitchcockian black comedy laced with EC comics cruelty. In it, a couple whose bond is well past the point of breaking drive into the country for what the husband (played with nebbish aplomb by Jeff Sinasac) apparently hopes will be a chance to repair their many rifts. By the time the wife (a great “bitch goddess” turn by Lindsay Smith) acidly informs her pathetic mate that he won’t be mating at all with her on this getaway, we know this is a coupling beyond all hope.
Turns out hubby knows this too and after a brief nap, the wife wakes to find the car parked in a remote field after dark, her man grinningly wielding a tire iron and requesting her presence outside. And none of it ends well.
A film that isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel (pun intended), OMFTR rather goes for crisp inventive photography, sardonic wit, macabre twists and some effectively edited, wincing violence. Stewart’s script plays it straight and yet is still filled with that grim William Gaines humor that is so difficult to perfect.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD is a thriller that veers unexpectedly into horror before finishing as a gonzo action film. It’s accessible, clean and solid commercial filmmaking with several esoteric detours and a sign of promising things to come from all involved.
Look for ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD coming to a festival near you and watch the teaser here.