Joseph Hennessy, Richard Millen, and Grace Halio
Joseph Hennessy, Grayson Whitehurst
"House of Dad" an Appealing, Unusual Short Film
I reviewed the first film from Grayson Whitehurst when he was a mere 17-years-old. That film, Not in my Beans, garnered a positive review and a proclamation that I was looking forward to his future work.
Here we go.
House of Dad centers around 17-year-old Pip (Joseph Hennessy), a rather competent young man forced to live in the home of his increasingly delusional father (Richard Millen). Produced for New York University's Intermediate Narrative Production Workshop, House of Dad tells a strange yet compelling story in its eight minutes as Pip's father goes from proving to be a mere challenge to his son's attending school to creating seemingly insurmountable obstacles that grow in intensity and absurdity. Faced once again with his father's in-your-face demands and "life lessons," Pip reaches his breaking point when his father lays it all on the line and crosses a boundary surpasses Pip's breaking point.
Benefiting greatly from its two find leading performances, House of Dad is a rather twisted little short that jumps into its heightened drama right away and never really lets go. Hennessy is a nerdish cinematic wonder as Pip, a young man who kinda sorta seems like he could be completely on the edge but when standing alongside his father seems as normal as Mr. Rogers.
Okay, maybe not that normal.
Richard Millen is a hilariously frightening find as the father in question, a man who seems bound and determined to push is son to the breaking point yet, one could easily say, also presents himself as the kind of father that most of us have met at one time or another. Best described as an absurdist dark comedy, House of Dad serves up solid production values including Whitehurst's own accompanying music and Jackson Tisi's eerie, off-kilter lensing.
For more information on House of Dad, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic