Business meetings can be Hell. Literally. In the debut short film from Chrissie Harper and Vamporama Films, All Bad Things sees a busy publisher awaiting his client in a restaurant with hopes of talking about future projects over dinner. When a surprise guest shows up in her spot, a psychological game of cat and mouth is played at such a sinister level, the publisher is completely unaware he’s already trapped in the spider’s web. Demelza O’Sullivan, Liam Woon, Chrissie Harper and Sham Zaman star in this eight minute horror-drama written and directed by Chrissie Harper, based on the story written by producer Steve Green.
Despite being a completely independent endeavor, All Bad Things reads like a much bigger production. I always find it astonishing when film-makers can fit appropriate, realistic elements into their short films. All Bad Things takes place almost entirely inside a real, working restaurant jam packed with extras and background players. It’s quite the accomplishment for a production of this level, and I give Chrissie Harper and her team a round of applause for going the extra mile in terms of actuality and making their short feel real. Also, from the standpoint of production, All Bad Things reads like an old school British horror flick; something you’d find in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It’s certainly equatable to Hammer Films, and this mostly comes in the form of a slow-burn story and red-tinted flashbacks and montages.
All Bad Things is a mix of Misery (1990) and Mulholland Drive (2001) in a clever contrast to its stylistic approach. Although a bloody murder is featured and highlighted, the vast majority of the story centers around the dinner meeting. Still, the performance from Demelza O’Sullivan coupled with all aspects of post-production result in a successful level of drama, mystery and suspense. But here’s where my opinion splices into two and I don’t know which side to land on. So, I’ll offer both. I don’t know if All Bad Things is interesting enough to be a hit and the ending definitely needs a second watch to make sense. At the same time, this short is also a solid building block that could serve as a potential prelude for other installments or feature length film.
And the audio is a little too manufactured. Shady business is good business and murder makes it all the better. All Bad Things was an interesting short film filled with great performances and strong production values. It’s only issue lies with being cohesive and picking one lane to travel down. It’s a little rough around the edges, but I can’t see why it shouldn’t do well in the film festival circuit in the UK. Final Score: 5.5 out of 10.