Michael Ray Williams, Patrick G. Keenan, David G. Holland, Margaret Alice, Jaysen P. Buterin, Rich Sigfrit (Voice)
"Department 666" Gets Set for Indie Festival Journey
It's likely a sure sign that Dave Harlequin has put together a mighty fine script for the short film Department 666 that in 2018 Harlequin's script picked up the prize for Best Unproduced Screenplay at the Carline Short Film and Screenwriting Showcase then, just one year later, ended up picking the 2019 prize for Best Short Film (Original Screenplay).
Indeed, Harlequin's screenplay is devilishly fun and director Adam York has a lot of fun bringing it to life with this off-kilter, fun to watch ensemble cast including Michael Ray Williams as a recently deceased man who discovers the afterlife isn't quite what he was expecting.
This 10-minute North Carolina shot film is practically the definition of an indie comedic horror short, a film with just a hint of edginess that has fun toying with stereotypes and perceptions, expectations and complete and utter despair. The cast brings it all to life in quite the fun way, their quality performances largely compensating for the inevitable challenges of low-budget filmmaking and the film's occasional sound mix concerns. If you're familiar with low-budget filmmaking, you'll understand and just surrender yourself to the film.
Michael Ray Williams is a blast here, sort of a Ron Livingston in hell scenario that comes to life amidst Patrick G. Keenan's demented glee as the office manager from hell. I also found myself enchanted by Margaret Alice's deadpan, matter-of-fact turn as a not so welcoming receptionist.
Department 666 uses its time wisely and doesn't overstay its welcome, planting a few evil ideas then leaving the rest to our imaginations. Likely to have its greatest successes on the indie/low-budget fest circuit, Department 666 will torture your soul and tickle your funny bone.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic