CARING FOR THE RECENTLY DECEASED (SHORT)

PrintE-mail Written by Phil Perry

Pitched somewhere between One Foot In The Grave and The Walking Dead, director/writer Henry Davies’ Caring for the Recently Deceased offers a jet-black suburban take on the oversaturated zombie genre. We join the long-suffered and underappreciated Marjoram (played by ex-Royle Family star Sue Johnston) at the wake for her late husband, Glynn, who passed away from a heart attack. You may be wondering why STARBURST would cover a melancholy movie about a lovely OAP losing her life-partner. Well, as soon as the service is over, he smashes through the front door as a certified member of the undead. Much of the humour is related to Glynn being more useful and communicative dead than he was alive and it comes thick and fast.

You may also be wondering what has attracted such established names as Johnston to what, on the surface, appears to be a lo-fi zombie romp – but you don’t have to delve very far to find the subtexts. Largely describing how the power balance can shift in a relationship after retirement. Years on Brookside Close means she grounds the fantastical concept with a kitchen-sink realness: she has no problem in convincing us that her dead husband is stood in front of her and flailing his arms around. It’s a masterclass in subtlety and comedic timing.

Glynn (portrayed by Philip Philmar) speaks more as a corpse than when he was living and entombed on the family sofa. He gets to shine with some neat visual gags; usually attempting a mundane household chore like the ironing. We also find out why sex is not recommended with partners once they are deceased. Throw in some imaginative camera work and clever cuts and you have the recipe for a resolutely British comic drama.

Our only criticism is it leaps towards its conclusion in the last five minutes due purely to its time constraints as a short. But when your only quibble is ‘please make it longer’ you know it is not to be missed.

CARING FOR THE RECENTLY DECEASED (SHORT) / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: HENRY DAVIES / SCREENPLAY: HENRY DAVIES, LISA PAYNE / STARRING: DAVID SCHOFIELD, SUE JOHNSTON, ABIGAIL THAW, MELANIE WALTERS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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