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The Independent Critic

Steven J. Wilson, Heidi Ervin, Wynn Reichert
Joel Wilson
15 Mins.

 "Death By Death" Review 
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Winner of the Grand Prize for the Professional Class of Best Film at the Action Film Challenge, writer/director Joel Wilson's Death by Death is a 15-minute short that manages to grab the viewer quickly and hold on despite characters that would, in most other settings, be unappealing at best.

The film kicks off with Jack (Steven J. Wilson) and Kate (Heidi Ervin) headed into a burger joint. When Jack realizes he's forgotten his wallet, Kate seemingly innocently offers to fetch it and leaves.

Suddenly, everything erupts.

That's what I call an explosive relationship.

The film that follows is one that weaves together solid action, well developed characters, dark humor and Joel Wilson's own solid camera work into a film that is a solidly entertaining action short.

Filmed on location in Tennessee using the Sony EX-1, Death by Death is the first in Joel Wilson's "Assassin's Diaries" series and brings to the forefront a tremendously talented Steven J. Wilson. Wilson manages to capture both the action/intensity and the underlying humor of his character without every allowing Jack to become a caricature. As Kate, Jack's equal in ways both delightful and dastardly, Heidi Ervin is also a blast to watch as she takes what we expect to happen and turns it upside down.

Wilson does a nice job of fleshing out the leading trio of characters here, with only occasional bits of dialogue falling a bit flat. Production credits are solid throughout, a rarity for an action short as so many filmmakers have a tendency to go beyond their budgetary and technical limitations. Wilson does occasionally stretch a bit too far, but he accomplishes quite a bit here and you can't help but wonder what would happen of Death by Death had played out a bit longer.

For more information on Death by Death, visit the film's Facebook page at the link listed in the credits above.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic