The Matchmaker (2013) & Super Zero (2014)

The Matchmaker posterIt seems as though I get short films in batches over here at AnythingHorror.com. I’ll go months without getting any short films and then suddenly my inbox will be flooded with them. It’s either feast or famine!! Recently I received a bunch of shorts and this is a review of two of them (more reviews to follow). I paired these two together because you couldn’t get two more polar opposite shorts. One is a cerebral, contemplative film on life, death, and love while the other is a fast-paced zombie story with a very unlikely hero.

The first short, THE MATCHMAKER, is written and directed by a familiar face here at AnythingHorror.com, Lonnie Martin. Martine wrote and directed the full length feature, WOMEN’S STUDIES, and the short film COUGARS. He’s back but this time he’s offering us something different. THE MATCHMAKER is an eleven minute short film about, as mentioned above, love, life, and death. In it a mortician, Percy (Matthew Lucas), is working on a new corpse for a funeral, the titular “matchmaker” (Cindy Marie Martin). Working with Percy is Ingrid (Sarah Taurchini). Percy has a huge crush on Ingrid but he never seems to find the right time or the right words in which to express his love. While working on the corpse for the funeral, “the matchmaker” suddenly opens her eyes and talks to Percy (Ingrid can’t hear her). No he’s not going crazy. No he doesn’t have the sixth sense. The corpse just wants to help Percy in his love dilemma.

We learn that the dead woman dropped dead seconds after saying “I do” on her wedding day. Now she’s there to try and teach Percy the value of life and how its never a good idea to put things off, especially in matters of the heart. This short isn’t gory and it in fact takes place completely in one room. The impact of THE MATCHMAKER comes in the message from the dead woman.

We could all use a little help when it comes to matters of the heart!!

We could all use a little help when it comes to matters of the heart!!

When you have a short film with only three actors that takes place in one room you better have solid actors. This short most certainly does. Martin gets great performances out of the trio. The short is also beautifully shot. There’s a sharp contrast between the crisp and bright colors of Percy and Ingrid (the living) and the dull, gloomy make-up of the dead woman. But as she talks to Percy we realize that the corpse is, in a way, more alive that Percy. You’re not going to hear this too often from me (especially as a compliment and as praise), but THE MATCHMAKER is a sweet short film that will make you smile. It’s funny, poignant, and … well, sweet. Lonnie Martin consistently makes great films, long or short, and I can’t wait to see his next one.

My Summary for THE MATCHMAKER:

Director: Lonnie Martin (& writer)

Plot: 4 out of 5 stars

Gore: 0 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains

Super Zero posterThe next short film, SUPER ZERO, couldn’t be more different than THE MATCHMAKER, but it’s every much as fun. SUPER ZERO is the story of Josh (Umberto Celisano), a brilliant engineer. Josh is a pretty unlikely hero. He’s a bit geeky (okay, okay … he’s a lot geeky), he’s a bit of a loner, and he pines away for the girl of his dreams, Page (Giselle Gilbert). The particular day we meet Josh is an odd one. On the one hand he’s excited about the recent news of a Mars probe finding water on the Red Planet, but on the other hand he just got a call from his doctor telling him he has a terminal illness and will probably be dead in six to eight months. Fast forward twenty-nine days (get it?). The world is overrun with zombies caused by a virus brought back on the Mars probe:

“Spoiler alert, there’s life on other planets. Well, by ‘life’ I mean some extraterrestrial water-born primordial virus from hell.”

Hooking up during the apocalypse!!

Hooking up during the apocalypse!!

One day while roaming the wasteland that was his city, Josh runs into Page, her cousin Nate (Tyler White), and another survivor Gary (Al Bernstein). Josh gets himself into a situation where he surely should’ve been killed by a horde of zombies but somehow survives. Page, Nate, and Gary are at first hesitant to accept him into their group but after Josh tells them his secret they accept him with open arms. It seems that Josh’s terminal illness makes him practically invisible to zombies. Add to this Josh’s extraordinary skill at making lethal weapons out of everyday objects and he just might be the only hope humanity has left. We learn that the group is trying to catch up to a National Guard convoy that’s in the area. There’s rumors that there’s a safe zone up North, which is where the convoy is going.

I told you he was a very gifted engineer!!

I told you he was a very gifted engineer!!

SUPER ZERO is just a taste of what’s to come. The short, which runs around fifteen minutes, ends just when it completely hooks you. Writer-director Mitchell L. Cohen let me know that there’s a full length feature currently in development. The short story script is both funny and scary and these elements work together to enhance the various situations of the characters. The comedy never dulls the horror elements. This is a smartly written and very well acted short film that hits all the right notes. I also really like the added element of Josh’s terminal illness. It’s something new in the zombie sub-genre. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for the full length feature of SUPER ZERO. Don’t miss this one!! Check out the short in it’s entirety right here!!

Super Zero 3My Summary for SUPER ZERO:

Director: Mitchell L. Cohen (& writer)

Plot: 4 out of 5 stars

Gore: 5.5 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem: 3.5 out of 5 brains

Both short films reviewed by Scott Shoyer

Stay Bloody!!!

Super Zero 1

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