The Call of Charlie (2016) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

Charlie is a friend, so Mark and his wife help him out by setting him up with Maureen. As the evening goes along, with uninvited guests Virginia and Jay joining the 4 of them, things take an odd turn.

Written by Guy Benoit, John Simpson, and director Nick Spooner, The Call of Charlie is a horror comedy that works, and works great. It’s funny and uses a creature to the best possible result in terms of comedy and awkwardness. The film has witty dialog and flows really well throughout. The writing is on point and the directing supports it perfectly. The way this is short is build shows a good grasp of comedic timing and how to build a strong story with odd aspects and keep it simple to make it work the best possible.

Acting in this are a small cast who works well together, with the lead of Charlie being fantastic under all that prosthetic make-up. Creature actor Sven Holmberg does work that is great here, giving a performance that is all in the way he carries himself here and how a shrug can carry a lot more than words sometimes. He does have a few lines, but his best acting is almost miming, but not quite, something that gives Charlie a ton of personality and charm. Playing the couple of friends setting him up are Brooke Smith and Harry Sinclair who both do enthusiastic work and show a unity as the couple setting things up and hosting the dinner, something that works and shows how they have chemistry and use it. Playing Maureen is Kristin Slaysman who plays her joyfully and full force into a character that is ready to do things for the right man, or creature, that most would not. Her spunk and bubbliness work amazingly well with the rest of the cast and with the film’s mood. Playing the uninvited guests are Evan Arnold and Roberta Valderrama who both play a most annoying couple that just works at getting on the nerves of everyone, viewer included. This cast is rounded out by the adorable Bradley Bundlie as Anton, the cute kid who shows the world here that Uncle Charlie is totally normal and nothing to be afraid of. This cast does great work here and proves that an ensemble performance is effective and absolutely the best choice in a comedy like The Call of Charlie.

Supporting the performances and giving reality to Charlie are the special effects by Melvone Farrell, Crystal Cox, Jeffrey Cox, John Goodwin, Nicholas Rinehard, and Wesley Kyle South who together gave Charlie life, with acting from Sven Holmberg. Their work is like the work expected from features and big budget film. Charlie looks amazing, his eyes are shiny and look real, something hard to achieve and oh so important. His whole being and believability depends on these effects and they do him justice. Their work is supported by visual effects by Aleksandar Janev and David Jones, which are used just right and not overbearing; something too many shorts forget works the best.

The Call of Charlie is a short film that looks great, has a talented ensemble cast, fantastic effects, and a funny story that works with the characters, the horror elements, the comedic timing. This short is hilarious in the best of way and one that should be sought out.