Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

Hell-Bent (Short)

Grade : A+ Year : 2016 Director : Foster Vernon Running Time : 26min Genre : ,
Movie review score
A+

Work is Hell for Michael (Justin Andrew Davis). He’s a writer at a magazine with a hard-ass for a boss (Timothy J. Cox) and an arrogant colleague in Beth (Ashley Kelley). When an editor’s job is made available for whoever writes the cover article of the next issue, Michael is anxious to go for it, but Beth is pretty certain it’s all hers, and that Michael, who isn’t one to exude confidence, will be nowhere close to it. One day, Michael helps office worker Agatha (Leslie Lynn Meeker) home when her car won’t start, and he stays for some tea. When she asks him to get some sugar for their tea, what he finds is not only quite startling, but just the type of story he’s been looking for to impress his boss, and really stick it to Beth.

Judging from the poster, you can probably guess some of what this film entails, but honestly, I’d just assume leave it to you to find out for yourself by watching the film. All I will say is that Agatha has a friend named Ricky (Steven Trolinger) who has a wicked sense of humor and a unique job that is unlike anything Michael has ever seen before. Inspiration flows, and the results leave Beth dumbfounded when she gets her hands on his article. The screenplay by Lorenzo Cabello and Shayne Kamat is well-constructed and practically defines the term “black comedy,” and director Foster Vernon makes it feel effortless with the tone and the performances he gets from his cast. Nobody delivers better work in the film, though, than Trolinger as Ricky. Without giving too much away, he’s figured out through his work that Hell truly is other people, but in Agatha and Michael, he finds some sense of goodness in humanity, and decides to help Michael get his promotion. It’s such a fun story to watch that you wonder if Vernon made a deal with the devil himself to make it.

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