Short Film Review: Overtime.
Overtime is a modern dark comedy, horror hybrid about office work and werewolves that goes for the throat!
Werewolf month rolls on, and I’m fortunate enough to have found several fascinating short films in the genre to spotlight. The first is Overtime, by Craig D. Foster and Emma McKenna. This short is a dark comedy horror that does for werewolves what Shaun of the Dead did for zombies. Self-described “self-taught” director Craig D. Foster certainly learned his lessons well as Overtime is tight, polished, and a blast to watch. If you’re stuck late at the office, skirt the company firewall and fire up this howlingly good short film.
Ralph (Aaron Glenane) is a tax preparation specialist facing crunch time. Not in the form of looming tax deadlines, but in form of the rising of the full moon. Ralph has a special condition, and he’s really hoping to punch out and get home before his urges get the better of him. Unfortunately his boss and coworkers seem hell bent on keeping him chained to his desk.
The first thing that grabs you about Overtime is the snappy editing and shot selection. Before the credits are even done rolling, the film has established its tone and sensibilities. We get a rapid fire montage of normal office work, where every image has a darker undertone and significance. It really put me in mind of Edgar Wright‘s films, where the introduction introduces many little details that become a clue to the ultimate direction of the film. It’s well deployed here and sets the stage for the rest of the film.
Not Amateur Night.
The overall level of polish for the film really sets it apart from many contemporary short horror films. The cinematography is precise and elegant, not wasting a second of its 9 minute run time. The acting and scripting is really solid; although the characters are office worker cliches, they are well done and full of personality. Glenane is a treat, both as a put-upon office drone and as a snarling brute. His performance has the angsty ticks of Michael J. Fox’s character in Teen Wolf mixed with the indignant snark of Ron Livingston’s role in Office Space. You really feel the pull of both parts of his persona as the clock ticks down to midnight.
Paint it Red.
Another element you would not expect to approach mainstream levels of detail, but which Overtime nails, is the effects. The transformation sequences for Ralph could stand up in any modern Hollywood flick. The make-up work is top notch, which is not surprising since Odd Studio (who won an Oscar the same year for Mad Max Fury Road) handled the creature effects. The gore is fantastic; it is deployed stylishly and with purpose, and in sufficiently gross detail to delight horror fans. Overtime shows that less is more…and more is more, when it comes to spilling the red food coloring.
Sink Your Teeth In!
Overtime is a blast, both as a well crafted short and as a smart werewolf film. It situates itself inside two well-worn genres and does both well. The effects will have you clutching your silver cane for protection, while the antics of Ralph’s coworkers will make you want to bludgeon the nearest office drone with it. I would normally feel a bit sad to get so excited for a short film, since 9 minutes goes by so fast here. Luckily Overtime’s crew put together a nice slate of behind the scenes material on their homepage if you’d like to take another bite out of this great short.