Psychic Murder (Short)
One of the great things about short films is that, sometimes, all you’re watching is a single scene, but within that scene, a complete story unfolds. That’s exactly what we get in Brandon Block’s “Psychic Murder.” Here, we start with a stand-up comic (Billy, played by Will Bernish) in the middle of an open mic routine. He’s failing pretty hard until he starts to get personal about a birth defect…his hands, which are overgrown and only have two fingers to go with a thumb. He starts getting laughs, ending the set on a good note. He grabs the attention of an agent there, Mickey Goldsmith (Timothy J. Cox), who thinks he can offer Billy a deal he can’t refuse. He tells Billy the story of a comic he once represented who crossed him. Mickey started to take revenge in small little ways, first not booking him for roles, and then bad roles, before finally just ruining his reputation. It sounds like the type of thing Billy would just assume not have happen to him, but maybe it’d be worth the risk if Mickey can find him success. The title refers to Mickey’s tactics he tells Billy about, but one can also look at it as what Billy is going through in the first part of his routine before he realizes, you know what, I’ve got to address the elephant in the room. This film is about a central choice- will Billy take Mickey’s offer- but also about the choice he makes to roll with joking about a personal part of him, and allow himself to be the butt of the joke in an uncomfortable way. Accepting his deformity as a way to move him forward, rather than holding himself back. I had my own birth defect that I allowed people to mock and was self-conscious about for a while, but I eventually accepted it as a part of me, and didn’t let it hold me back in terms of my outlook on myself. Life got better after that happened, the same looks to be possible for Billy, as well. The question he needs to answer is whether the worst that Mickey could do to him is worth risking for all the help he could offer. “Psychic Murder,” indeed.