Everybody would like to die on their own terms, whether it’s peacefully in their sleep or in a state of oxygen-starved euphoria on a specially-built rollercoaster. But is there really such a thing as a good death? Taking inspiration from a real-life engineering project, Glenn Paton’s stylish short H Positive poses that morbid question, and seems to come to a melancholy conclusion.
Roger Barclay channels his inner Frank Underwood as Mark, a billionaire determined to go shuffle off this mortal coil with adrenaline in his blood instead of barbiturates. He’s a thoroughly slimy one-percenter, stalking around a cold, sterile apartment, and shrewdly drawn so that the thought of him dying doesn’t exactly fill one with sadness
And who can blame him for wanting to go out in such theatrical style, when the ride looks this exhilarating? Andy McGraw’s erratic editing will have some viewers reaching for the sick bags at the ride’s apex. The sound design by Sam Ashwell and Sam Robson further adds to the immersion – this one is worth watching with a good pair of headphones.
But then, something strange happens. As this obscenely wealthy man begins the slow ascent that will lead to his demise, it’s hard not to feel a pang of pity for him. Mark hopes he will be remembered as a ‘pioneer’, yet there seems to be nobody who cared enough to see him on his way. And as that protracted final shot reminds us, somebody has to clean up the mess when the ride is over.
Do you have a short film you’d like to be considered for our Short of the Week feature? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CAST: Roger Barclay, Marcos Garcia
DIRECTOR: Glenn Paton
WRITERS: Glenn Paton and Nick Walter
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Federico Alfonzo
EDITOR: Andy McGraw
SYNOPSIS: If you had a prolonged terminal illness and money was no object, would you manipulate euthanasia so that you could die on your own terms? The star of this unsettling short begins a quest to end his own life by building a rollercoaster that will kill him in the most memorable way possible.