Peter Dukes first came to our attention here at The Horror Hothouse when he sent us his short film The Beast starring Bill Oberst Jr. to review. Since then, we have had the pleasure of interviewing the great man himself (read the interview here) and being one of the first to watch his latest offering, horror comedy short, Little Reaper.
The premise is a simple one and when we initially read it, we couldn’t help but chuckle at the brilliance of it. Little Reaper centres on the grim reaper’s difficult teenage daughter who, in a bid to become ‘ungrounded’, takes over her father’s duties for one day. In typical teen fashion, her love affair with her mobile phone prevents her from successfully carry out her dad’s responsibilities and calamity ensues.
Shot across three days with a run time of just 10 minutes, once again Dukes proves his originality and finesse as a filmmaker. The short opens with a rather grumpy looking teenage reaper (played by Atherna Baumeister) slumped against a wall and, after some rather creative camera angles/shots, we watch with glee and just a pinch of dismay as the grim reaper’s (John Paul Ouvrier) daughter natters away to her friends, blissfully unaware of the souls lying in wait for her to collect them.
With some classic teenage/parent dialogue, several rolled eyes and even a reference to the Twilight dream couple Bella and Edward, this is one horredy that definitely doesn’t struggle to get its audience tittering. Then, just as you start to forget about the ‘horror’ aspect of Little Reaper, you’re hit with a shock ending that has an undeniably ‘old school’ feel to it.
Jeong-Hwa Fonkalsrud’s make-up is particularly distinctive and gives the film (and it’s artwork) a real ‘Day of the Dead’ vibe. The score by artist Giona Ostinelli is also worth mentioning. It frames fantastically Dream Seekers’ portrayal of Death and his defiant daughter and, as one YouTube user stated, it is somewhat reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s work in the 90s. Songs by Rend, Mad Planet and Pop Noir also feature.
As a premiere attempt at comedy Dukes says that Little Reaper was a ‘challenge’ and whilst that might well have been the case, it certainly did not show. Comedy horror is notoriously difficult to get right and it is often too easy for filmmakers to end up with a movie that is either a) horror that isn’t funny or b) funny but not a horror – thankfully Little Reaper is neither of these. Unique, delightfully funny and just a little gory at the end, Dream Seekers Fans have successfully branched out into horredy and we look forward to seeing him grow his presence within this particular genre.
Little Reaper was shot by Drew Moe, produced under the banner of Dream Seekers Productions with Danny Derakhshan acting as executive producer and Melissa Cottingham, Shane and Colin Mehigan and Justin Castillo as associate producers.
Now finished and online, Little Reaper is ready for your viewing pleasure. Watch below…
You can read our preview and check out some stills from the set of Little Reaper here.
For more information about Peter Dukes and his production company Dream Seekers Productions, check out Dream Seekers Productions website and don’t forget to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @DreamSeekerFans.