I'm a lot like an independent filmmaker.
Okay, actually that's a lie. I'm nothing like an independent filmmaker, but there are times I feel an awful lot like an indie filmmaker. It happens when I achieve a certain level of popularity or acclaim or something along those lines and suddenly realize that this "thing" that I've grown in my life has grown beyond what I can manage.
So, yeah, somehow it happened.
I lost track of Nathan Suher's holiday short film Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie), a 23-minute bizarro wonderland of retro-vibed, cheese-induced and hilariously goofy and sweet cinema that would have fit perfectly with how I actually experience the holidays myself.
For the record, I'm not sure what that says about me.
But, I digress.
Scary Little Fuckers is a rather inspired weaving together of all those cynically warm and gooey feelings that you loved from A Christmas Story and all those cheesy yet unforgettable scares you experienced from watching Zach Galligan take on the Gremlins.
No, silly...NOT the AMC car.
Scary Little Fuckers is a comedy horror flick with an emphasis on the comedy. The film starts off with Saul (Rich Tretheway), an almost stereotypically loser dad arriving at home on Christmas Eve determined to at least try to do something for his immensely jaded and worn out son, Kyle (Josh Fontaine), who seems resigned to a fractured relationship with his dad. Hoping that he can mend his relationship with his son, Saul brings his son a Fookah, a devilish little creature that begins, somewhat expectedly, to cause chaos.
Written by Lenny Schwartz (Normal, Murder University) and directed by Suher (Right There), Scary Little Fuckers may not necessarily strike a whole lot of original notes, but what it does is absolutely done with inspiration and a tongue planted firmly in cheek. The film benefits greatly from the co-leading performances of Rich Tretheway and Josh Fontaine. Tretheway manages to take an absolute caricature of a man and flesh him out with substance and sensitivity. I mean, sure, Saul is a complete fuck up as a dad but Tretheway never lets us give up on him.
Fontaine's performance as Kyle is a tad trickier, I suppose, given less of an outlandish character to work with he plays Kyle as slightly wounded, slightly immature, slightly weird and a whole lotta fun. It's a terrific, nicely nuanced performance. Among the supporting players, you will absolutely be crushin' on Anna Rizzo's Peggy while Mark Carter's vocal work as the Fookahs is creative and memorable.
Jill Poisson's lensing is a beautiful blending of sensitive and frenetic, while Margaret Wolf's production design works perfectly within the confines of a low-budget indie short.
Okay. Okay. I confess. I was late to the game on this one. Heck, you've probably seen the film before I did. I screwed up. Don't send the Fookahs.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic