One of the fun things about writing and editing your own blog is having editorial control. Yes, we feature big new studio releases, but a number of the most popular films featured are suggested by film-makers themselves; if I get an email approach, and the film looks good, I’m happy to mix things up. And so writer/director Marc Cartwright’s short We Die Alone drops onto my desk with some positive buzz and a cool poster; 25 minutes later, it’s a thing well worth a review!
Aidan (Baker Chase Powell) has a problem with women. He’s lonely, he’s in a dead end job, his living conditions need a bit of work, and he’s not quite ready for the world of internet dating. It looks like he’s got a short-cut to success with girls when his new neighbour Chelsea (Samantha Boscarino) locks herself out of her flat, and he discovers they have a shared interest in puzzles. But his co-worker Elaine (Ashley Jones) also seems to have taken a shine to him, even if he doesn’t have the self-confidence to recognise her advances. Can Aidan overcome his introversion and find true happiness?
Romance may be a subject here, but rest assured, this is a straight up thriller that has a tinge of horror. UK audiences may remember a huge tv show from the 80’s called Tales of the Unexpected, a Twilight Zone-style collection introduced by Roald Dahl and using some of his stories as content. The twists were delicious, and We Die Alone rises to a slight-of-hand that shocks, but also makes sense given the careful characterisation involved. All three central characters pop, and for a film largely set in two locations, the pace never drops until the bloody dénouement.
We Die Alone has some matter in common with Joker, and specifically Joker’s abortive relationship with his neighbour, which may or may not exist inside his head. Cartwright’s film deals with a similar situation, but is more satisfying in resolution; it’s always refreshing to find a short that makes it’s point so cleanly and effectively, and this should be a great calling card for a film-maker who, on this evidence, has genuine talent for crafting a neat little twisty-turny narrative. A nice **** (four out of five).
We Die Alone is out today in the US, the UK and elsewhere. It’s free to Amazon Prime users, click the link below to see the whole film. Feel free to let me know what you think of it!