Wake Up, Mark
Film: Wake Up, Mark
Director: Michi Heckler
Writer: Michi Heckler
Starring: Shane Thompson, McKenna Bintz and Brandon Richardson
I got the chance to check out this short film when the star of it, Shane Thompson, reached out to me and asked if I wanted to check it out. He and I were fraternity brothers in the same pledge class where he wanted to do more acting where I liked to stay more behind the scenes and write. The synopsis of this short is an elementary school teacher tries to live a quiet life, but is forced to deal with an annoying coworker, narcolepsy and a dark secret.
This starts off with Mark in the classroom that he teaches. He is reading to the children a story entitled, ‘The Frog and the Scorpion’. It is an interesting tale of nature and why things do what they do. We then see what Mark’s dark secret is in his basement. This scene though shows us more about Mark’s character and it is followed by an interaction with Barry (Brandon Richardson), a co-worker who never stops talking.
The biggest thing that struck me about this short was the little things that are given to us and what their bigger implication is. The story that Mark reads is a perfect allegory for him. It doesn’t explain why he does the things that he does, but it is something that was liberating for him when it was first read. It really reinforces the idea that the reason some people do things is definitely nature over nurture.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you know that I’m not the biggest fan of horror/comedies. I do have to say, there is something about this though that worked. Part of it is the delivery of some lines. That is really what makes most comedies in my opinion and I will get back into this shortly. Some of the things that happen to Mark are relatable as well. It doesn’t justify what he does, but it really shows what would happen if a psychopath was trying to live a normal life and what you’d do to correct these issues.
Next would be the pacing of this, which I think works well. As stated earlier, it is a short running about 15 minutes, but I think that is a perfect time. We are given enough about the characters to know them and it really doesn’t over stay its welcome. The ending is on par what we would expect, but I think the comedy of it though and how things happen really make this fit.
To the acting, I am a bit bias as I know Thompson, but I really think he did a great job in his role. He comes off as sociopath. There really isn’t any emotion there, yet he is ‘normal’ enough to live a semi-normal life. His delivery of lines though is spot on and I’m a big fan of. His facial expressions really help too. Richardson I also thought was pretty solid. He really embodies that annoying person at work who insists you are friends and just rambles on. You don’t want to be rude and make it awkward, but it makes work even worse. I thought the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed as well.
As to the effects of the film, there were really a lot of them. It isn’t that type of film, which I am fine with. It doesn’t need to be bloody to get the point across. We really just see the beginning and aftermath of things that happen. I will say that the film is shot very well. I think they used some interesting angles and movements.
Now with that said, I had a lot of fun checking out this short. It really presents an interesting look at life. It makes you wonder what would happen if you worked with someone like Mark who is harboring such a dark secret. The comedy actually worked for me and it had me chuckling. I thought the acting was solid and the film is shot very well. The pacing works to build to the ending and I think it written in a way that most subtle things mean something much larger. The score of the film outside of the final song really didn’t stand out, but it also doesn’t hurt the film. At the time of posting this, they are going to shop this around to be seen. If you get the chance, I would definitely recommend checking it out as I found it to be good.
My Rating: 8 out of 10