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Brough Bros and the Monster

Brough Exotic

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Minor Transgressions

After failing to check the back seat of a stolen car, a group of "hardened" criminals get more than they bargained for in the form of a clever young boy joining their gang. A decent script here playing well to the odd one out requirements of the genre, with a lowbrow homegrown attitude that was largely charming. Solid examination of tough external personas as well though perhaps could have played that angle a little more for more dramatic impact. Good use of the warehouse interior and ticked the ultra box by having the child as the clear lead. Sound however was a tad flat for me and whilst I really appreciated the subversion the majority of the film being sitting and talking or standing around (not all, mind) was what held it back a bit.

Moist Hoist 2 - Crime Me A River

Love the Z-grade vibes team, from the fact you went full on sequel to your previous 48Hours passion project, to the deliberately changing costumes through to the whiteboard Covic Tracer with 'QR Code' scanner written with a marker. Classic.

Self-aware, all the way through driven by a ridiculous but extremely catchy song, I truly appreciated re-using the Wilhelm Scream to bring things full circle! The crime being a heist netting a vest, tripod and guitar was the cream on the crop. Just really silly all around but appreciated you were fully committed to your tone. Really gave me a strong sense of nostalgia for early bonkers 48 films.

Safe House finale with the closet hiding and run by the goons was also entertaining and that ending was amazing.

Up there with Aaron's Censorship Trial for most bugnuts film in the comp this year. That's a big compliment, trust me.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 1.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

The Hitler Effect

Alternate universe farce where facial hair is championed and smooth faces for men are mocked and ridiculed, with the titular nazi leader having an enormous effect on the proceedings. Spanning across 85 years for all intensive purposes through low budget time travel, well covered up by black and white footage to hide any budget constraints, this highlighted modern high school life well where the pressure to show your true feelings is indeed immense, and rejection is soul crushing. I liked the message here to never give up even in the face of denial, and the beard jokes came thick and fast. "Dad" was a particular highlight, as was the dramatic mo trimming and good use of sound effects in the film. Some of the camerawork was noticeably shaky and motivations for characters were a bit questionable at times but I do enjoy a good farce and this got great laughs from the audience including myself.

KUNG-FOODOO

Hyper-kinetic warriors must deal with the repercussions of a new companion making their 2 a 3, who grows very attached after their life is saved in the woods. I did not want to peel my eyes away from the screen for a second as the film moved with the pace of a bullet train. Like a comic book come to life, we were greeted with bold colours and daring camera work. I was reminded of many films; Shogun Assassin, Princess Bride and the 36th Chamber of Shaolin immediately coming to mind but this was an original beast all of its own with that incomparable Moffilaide touch. With some fantastic special effects the quest to return to the warrior's sensei many miles away may just be the best film these boys have made. Fantastic.

Heist to Meet You

Love and connection can make people do irrational things, whether it be to dress up in a silly crab costume on a third date, or take advantage of a hopeless romantic.

However what NRE (New Relationship Energy) can also provide is hope and the possibility for us to see the light of positive change, the kind where you will priortise love and laughter over your career, and it felt that legendary comp veterans Puppyguts were trying to explore some deeper themes along those lines.

I liked how the team turned the romcom genre on its head, creating a PANIC ROOM with pizza and board games, only with the slices of both comedy and margherita being dark and/or mouldy.

The script was reasonably strong especially in terms of the humour, and I really liked how the film was shot from a framing point of view. It was shot in a house/apartment, yes, but lighting was strong, and the safe room kept things engaging with the security screen in the background.

One of the nicest things about this team's understanding of genre in spite of subversion was knowing that for a succesful film in this genre you have to create building blocks and chemistry between characters, allowing the audience to feel a sense of hope even in dire circumstances. So well done there.

For mine, the performance of Reagan was probably the best part of the film. He played a believable reluctant hero who thought he was just really developing some lovely feelings for a woman, and portrayed this particularly well, ticking the required character trait with excellent craftsmanship.

My main issue with the film was something which for some viewers may have been a positive. When the panic room was secured, it kind of felt like any sense of dramatic urgency was lost. The film felt safe at that point, for lack of a better term. The reason I say some may view this as positive is that the absolutely preposterous situation was highly amusing and it kept the film tonally consistent with the charming date that kicked things off.

Also whilst really nicely shot, I wasn't 100% on board with some of the editing choices. For example the pizza to board game was kind of sudden, and whilst we had the chemistry established, I felt like some affirmation even slightly minor like a wink or a kiss would have made the bloody conclusion more satisfying. Still. love conquers all and I enjoyed the film.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Losing Lucy

Placeholder review.

Flatmate Wanted

There were some startling images on display here, and we got a very creepy build with a sense of unease throughout. Medical students obviously have a very good cover for anything that might seem odd related to human anatomy, but that doesn't stop our lead actress from thinking it might be a bit more than just in her head. Reminded me a bit of underrated German horror ANATOMY (rent it out if you haven't, both that and this film are worth a watch) Art direction was really good on this one and whilst the finish was gross it was not too over the top and hit the marks of a horror film really well. Being a new flatmate it does seem quite odd that the established house dwellers take such an interest when she chops her finger...The main thing I could fault was a strong start and end were matched by a not quite as strong middle portion for the film. Played to your visual strengths though which was a good idea.

Tiny Town

Holy set design Batman! I mean obviously almost the entire film was green screen, but that was extremely impressive world building to create a BORROWERS type cardoard box world for tiny survivalists, including one who used to be the superhero 'Normal Man'

Quite an introspective film, as the questions to the protagonist that they should start looking at the small things in life and not taking things for granted were delivered through such an excellent script that if felt like an engaging concept for the audience to consider.

Nice sound, edit looked really smooth as well given what you were piecing together would have taken a lot of compositing.

Solid performances as well with the survivalist who already lived in the titular Tiny Town a particular stand out, showing vulnerability and wisdom at the same time.

Whilst a marvelous visual world and some important lessons were covered, I just felt like we needed another story beat to progress the arc because once shrunk down, the film was very dialogue driven and contemplative. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I personally felt the genre called for a little bit more action.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Ruby Smith - A National Treasure

A former acting star who rode the coat tails of one catchphrase early in her career all the way to Hollywood returns to Raumati South for an interview to give back to her roots. The banana republic/fatigue/split joke was on point but a lot of the film was a sit-down interview that repeated information in different ways. I'm giving this one positive marks because of good camera work and your male interviewer was simply superb.

Sheared Luck

Used the 2015 trait of a thoughtless character to provide a cannonball comedy of events that fit will within their required genre. After attempting to become besties with a bunch of burglars while being robbed our lead shows a genuine ineptness at everything he does even for simple tasks such as returning a found wallet. This contained one of the best comedic uses of wool so far seen in the 2016 competition. Good audience response although it seemed half loved the screeching voice and half kept quiet throughout the film.

Girls Night

She'll be right humour of a couple of wind turbine pokie loving dudes leads to a night of...body swapping into beautiful women??!! Yeah this was wild in terms of the secret identity aspect of the film, using the genre to drive the story and all the better for it. Lots and lots of audience laughs and not surprised it did well in audience favourite voting, but for me this was technically quite a mix. The titular girl's night was extremely well shot given that it focused on dark night clubs for the most part and yet colours and contrast popped, but the opening scene and bedroom scenes looked very plain in comparison. I also feel the story was pretty threadbare despite the wild originality. The bookending was nice and the pie joke was hilarious, mind. Poor Nugget. Edit, fuck it I'll bump it to a 5/7 as it was very entertaining despite my reservations. The joys of star ratings! :)

The Talk

Fantastic looking short here as a very young lead stumbled across an adult magazine at the beach, and wondered what sex was after feasting his pre-pubescent eyes on a scantily clad lady. Unfortunately the sage advice he is after is a little shortcoming from his brother, mum and grandad despite their best intentions with condoms, books and dolls (don't ask). I felt the cinematography on this was top notch, and a cracking start to the heats with some deeply saturated deeply focused shots, all in well framed scope.I also liked the attention to detail for your production values with the house kept tidy, but interesting through attention grabbing stylish backgrounds. The payoff so to speak was a bit predictable in this day and age but the actors were committed to selling it. Well done.

Vitamin Z

Wonderful use of wind through your fog shots, I was impressed by how you took what seemed to be a little bit of a generic post apocalyptic tale of a masked band of marauders into something a bit more mind-bending with the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE nods through veggie tales and a headscratching ending. I don't know if I'll ever look at broccoli the same way again.

Not One Tear

NAILED IT. Like out of the park in my book got your genre absolutely picture-perfect spot on. I've always been a bit of a puppet fan and having watching The Lady from Sockholm earlier this year I was pretty pleased to come across some getting the big screen treatment so spectacularly. Our lead actress feels empty, although they acknowledge that with Hamlet coming up that an opportunity to re-gain their passion for acting may be able to come through. The only problem is that they can't cry. Nicky Brick tries to ignite this passion for them, suggesting a multitude of scenarios that ultimately hit home a lot harder than anyone would care to imagine for our lead. Set design was superb and the puppets were simply beautiful. Not just play with for Sunday school type stuff either. No, this team put a huge amount of effort in with differing facial features to actually convey emotion. Big time payoff to the point where the audience was clapping before the end credits rolled.

Justice

Started pretty promisingly with an amusing shower number, but due to some audio issues (which plagued all films on this first night of Wellington heats) it was quite hard to understand many of the lyrics clearly. Autotune, ninjas, rifles and it actually looked pretty good too. I found the plot needed a bit more focus though, with a music video vibe for significant sections. Having said that, I reallly dug the shot of the dude being tackled into the harbour.

Maurice

A potty mouthed tradie with a penchant for nasty pranks is stuck in purgatory/limbo and given 3 lives ala JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, though his fate is seemingly judged on his previous actions, which put him there?

Your lead actor did a fine job. Their casual bogan attitude such as basically telling God to fuck off was amazing, and the line delivery did have to be on point because sunglasses for a protagonist do rob viewers of access to the eyes which are usually crucial for presenting body language, especially in short films where we do not know the characters at all. But like I said, excellent delivery and attitude by the tradie protagonist.

Sound was strong and the team knew how to frame a memorable landscape from a cinematography point of view.

I also liked the colour palette the team chose, subverting the normal expectations of the in-between of life and death as it has historically been presented in art.

The flashback pranks did break up proceedings a bit, although they all came across as fleeting so our guy losing a life/balloon for each one was suprising to say the least.

Now I did find the ending very confusing, and just for me, this was a stretch to be called an adventure film. Probably my main issue does come back to my opening sentence. It seemed like he was given a chance and yet his fate was already decided making it hard to be engaged when there was no chance of success. But maybe I'm missing the point and this was all about fate and how it is inevitable. I'm genuinely not sure though because was the second walker representing a chance at redemption?

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Impasta

Sock puppets have a spaghetti-eating competition, only one of the contestants may not be quite who they seem to be. Is the fact that one of them is the size of a human the giveaway when all the others fit on hands and feet? Only time will tell. Absolutely farcical and surreal I was completely sold on this sock world as it felt hypnotic to me. It honestly felt fully formed from the jibberish language, to little and not so little details such as not having teeth being key to being allowed to enter the competition. Whilst the location could have had a bit more detail to it to be more engaging, the team overcame the plain background with lots of close ups and a large variety of colours on screen giving this energy and vigour.

Bro

Is our destination really the stars, a road trip with some bros or a quick stop at the dairy for a meat pie (no potato top of course)? ICW asks the hard questions with an existential effort that is simplistic on the outside but earth core deep on the inside. Subtitles for general grunts have worked well in the past in this competition with a famous former winner coming to mind, but here the translations play a bit differently than feral instinct. The irony and self-awareness to explore masculinity in such a simplistic yet fascinating manner that 'Bro' does has already got me coming back to re-watch multiple times and it definitely works very well on repeat viewings. Also technically hard to fault; car-based films can be tricky for keeping momentum but that was managed with aplomb, camera angles were engaging and sound crisp...and Gavin Rutherford steals the whole fucking movie - whew!

Goddess Of The Night

United by a need for the restroom, this was a classic mismatched buddy film of opposites attracting and quickly developing a friendship. To me it was just rock solid storytelling showing how people with traits that we admire can cause us to come out of our shell and grow.

Pickle Thugs have always amazed me with their really inventive VFX that goes outside the box for 48Hours but here the scriptwriting and character development was the crucial aspect of the film. The contrast between a woman apologetic for accidentally farting versus one happy to rock into the men's bathroom for a piss could not have been more clear. But even little seeds being sown about backstory such as one friend's having ditched her and showing that what she really needed to embrace life was a completely different buddy did not go unnoticed.

Something else striking to me was how it touched on themes of female empowerment. There was the metaphorical line that the confident woman subscribed to the mantra that you are the goddess of your own creation hence having the confidence to skip queues and say bold things, but said while intoxicated and about to doze off made it seem a bit superficial and comic. But to then link it to the actual summoning of the cult, and personal development through creation of the goddess persona for a payoff? It all added up so well thanks to the brilliant script.

The view from under the cubicles for Act 3 of the film was something that is really hard to cover in a review without spoiling the film so I'll try my best not to. It really worked for me, though, allowing the sort of elevated story arc that will have this competing come awards time. The severed ear, the impressive costuming, the unexpected pentagram all linked together for a mis en scene of raised stakes and tension that made the conclusion so satisfying.

Edit great. Performances on point. Sound so good. But the piece de resistance from a technical point of view...The Lighting. Oh my gosh the lighting!!! Salivating just thinking about the invigouring pink blue and purple paste hues that drenched the film in night club flavour without dipping into Wendng Refn neon-pastiche at all. So good.

This came very close to me giving perfect marks. I cracked up but the butt touching quip just didn't quite have as much impact as I felt it could have, and the costume change whilst glorious felt slightly implausible. Also I didn't really feel like all the elements drove the story for once by this amazing team, though the confidant aspect was to be fair done particularly well. But still absolutely fantastic.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Fifty / Fifty

A teen team explored gambling addiction here and the distance it can put between people, as well as its highs and lows. There were some really good harmonies in your music, but live on camera sound for singing is generally a bad idea, because the lack of clarity meant I had a hard time distinguishing the lyrics. A couple of neat editing effects.

Synthetic Sonata

My lack of well known classical music again comes to bite me in the butt as I should be able to list what this team used as its centrepiece plot point but I'm not sure. Maybe Mozart? I'm stabbing in the dark. Yet whatever it was it was used to good effect in this serious effort. Nicky works as a musician for hire in somebody else's private home, playing the music that they request but unfortunately this is restrictive dreary stuff and does not allow them to be themselves. The fact that they even play at all is what gives the film its inspirational weighting; but on that note it might have worked better as a reveal towards the end rather than relatively early on in the piece The person who gets them to play is quite a pent up individual, but there are others who are happy to share their thoughts about creating music. It doesn't matter if you can't read sheets, right? The film would have passed quite well if they got Drama as their genre in previous years. Really a little morbid overall despite the positive messages. Very well shot.

Four's A Bunch

Despite having grown up on the titular Brady Bunch-inspired tv show, the son of the director has had enough and so turns up on set without his costume or makeup on one day. I was going to give this a 1 or 2 star rating as the plot of him bringing a gun to set and just blowing away a cameraman to end proceedings was cold hearted and bleak as fuck. However the hilarious granny reaction to round out the film saved this from total disaster.

Anti Facts

I do appreciate that even after the 48 Hours Lockdown competition took covid-19 jokes by the scruff of the horn, shook them out until there was nothing left and then flogged the dead horse dozens of times there were still plenty of teams in 2021 who didn't give a hoot and went mad with covid/vax jokes in this year's competition. And hey, if your film is fun then it's fun.

Here our basic plotline was a pisstake house party where a vaccinated doctor starts having adverse symptoms, with flat earth and Gill Bates jokes thrown around left right and centre.

Strong performances, nice editing and the film looked and sounded great with particularly well done music. But that lack of originality was a bit killer for me.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Bloody Mary

"Paramedicked myself out of there before the explosion" is quite possibly the best line I've heard so far in this year's comp. This effort was quite simply deranged, with jaw droppingly awful CG, cheesy gore and over the top performances from all involved. Plot? Who cares. Sometimes you get a reminder that this competition started as part of Incredibly Strange, and this was one of those occasions.

Parkour Boys

Absolutely skitzo but had its heart In all the right plices. Full of rapping, beatboxing, parkour, fighting and…singing? Looked you were having a lot of fun. The only thing is that with musical it would be nice for some of the songs to develop the plot rather than being intros/boats throughout. The haphazard approach almost gave it a cinema verite feel.

Dead Last

Most definitely inspirational and a bit of a surprise that athletics or sports in general hasn't featured more this year in the genre given that it is an area with such clearly defined goals. The smart money is on Flash Wilson to clean up at the Wellington athletics meet, but Nicky Brick never stops running for lack of trying. The motivational coach was an excellent supporting actor trying to get it into our undead lead's head that having heart is more important than having brains when running a race. Of course brains help too, if you're a zombie at least. Excellent use of slow motion too. Couple of moments where the production values could have done with a bit of polish but minor points really as I think they were probably deliberately done that way (I'm talking about the floating heads and zombie make up in general)

Hard To Do

Communication is key to any successful relationship, and a lack of communication is quite often the root cause for any unsuccesful relationship. TBALC took this idea and ran with it, exploring how choking up bottled up feelings like Rabbit in his first 8-MILE battle can have disastrous consequences.

With the stage set through a breakup speech being prepared at the start of the film, only to walk out to an engagement proposal, things only escalated through more and more awkward humour as the film unraveled.

TBALC you are one of my favourite teams of all time in this comp, and the baseline for your plot to develop was perfectly set here. I think an awful lot of people can relate to communication as it is a universal issue for most people, and it going so big in scale by covering ground like weddings, death and children was well done in terms of building scale and tension.

However, the film for me was literally crying out for some more impact. I think it would have made an excellent stage play, because on that note most of the film was either sitting or standing around and delivering lines. The cringe comedy was great at times, making me personally take deep breaths at the awkwardness. Nice script. But for example, the finale being a pressure release and then providing cruel fate without an impactful reaction shot just felt like a missed opportunity for me.

Technically I can't really complain, framing and edit throughout was smooth, good clear sound, just a personal opinion of the beats not having the punch they could have. But if cringe was the goal well then my grading is probably lower than it should be.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Lost in Cyberspace

Great team intro/lack of, setting the scene for a low-brow KATH AND KIM (with mum and daughter) uber scenario gone wrong when the women take someone else's ride, having just wanted to get to Hillsborough. With surreal minimalistic but well done green screen inside the ride, the down to earth dialogue and misjudgement of the driver created some decent awkward humour. What I particularly liked about the film was the well captured audio, however once the couple got out of the car the culmination of events left a little to be desired due a wee bit of a casual ho hum approach. The stranded would be passenger WOULD have been a nice touch, had there not been a very clear and obvious boom operator in shot which caused me to double check whether this team had entered ultra and were breaking the 4th wall on purpose...

Hattie Hatpin

Placeholder review.

Lost & Found

We see a farmer smashing up some floorboards with a crowbar, before being taken back to earlier in the day/week. Bobby Young bullies his apprentice/assistant around the farm quite strongly, yelling at him about fencing, smokos and shifting stock. A really fresh vibe to this one with some good acting and jokes, and whilst it was certainly mysterious and the farmland scenery looked great, the narrative lacked focus, with the payoff creating confusion rather than resolution in my opinion.

Pass the Parcel

Over the course of a year, a father tries sending monthly gifts to his son and keeps having them returned by his boy's mum, leading him to drink before some hard truths lead him to really think about what it means to be a father. This was effectively done given how much of a timespan the team covered, with barely any dialogue outside of the written letters so the performers really had to work hard to show us their development through facial and body emotions. They did just that by and large, and I liked that you really threw in some variety in terms of your coverage. I think there were a couple of times were the seasonal timing didn't quite match up with what we were seeing on screen but kind of irrelevant given most of the film was based indoors. I appreciated that the mum in particular was shown running quite a range of emotions from resentment to anger to sadness as the time passed.

Mother's Day Out

Poor sound, poor video, poor acting, poor editing I can deal with. Tedious films however are a lot harder to look to get a positive perspective on. Especially if they decide to essentially shoot not in the English language but with some gobbidy gook infantile babbling sounds throughout, with said sounds emanating from the ashes urn of our mentally unstable lead. I think tripping out and imaging the other funeral goers were an angry mob was the highlight, and that happened about 10 seconds into the film. I honestly really don't mean to sound to harsh but a plot would be appreciated if I have to watch another of your films ever again - the visual gags almost had a point but no exposition as to why meant I was confused as fuck.

Imaginary friend

As newlyweds make their way to a rural bed and breakfast honeymoon treat, an obnoxious limo driver tries to get under their skin but they ignore the dickhead and instead settle in for a lovely celebration of their marriage with beekeeping, tennis and picnics. Only the Air BNB house is not exactly as he seems.

Firstly, good sound here including some really nice foley and from a technical point of view I enjoyed how you bathed every shot in sunlight where possibly, but your white balance was strong resulting in a warm fuzzy tone to the proceedings.

The performances were strong, selling the deep connection of the newlyweds just simply over the moon at having tied the knot. I also felt the host delivered an interesting slightly off-kilter performance.

The thing holding this back for me was a lack of dramatic urgency. Really enjoyable tone overall and some clever comedy, but even in the most lighthearted romcoms I do want to have a dramatic question driving the story because otherwise it becomes a little observational. I'm giving you an overall positive mark though as I personally enjoyed your film a great deal.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elemenets: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

PowerDown

Through lockdown and frustration we get to see the unleashing of our protagonists powers in this energetic origin story.

I feel the team took an interesting approach of sitting down and thinking, talking about what great power meant in terms of responsibility after some initial jokes such as making an invisible chair. No flying/bullet absorbing SHAZAM type montage in site here, the team stuck to what they could do.

And by going small, they were able to come up with a topical dramatic question that drove the film. What if the powers could end lockdown for just 1 day in Christchurch? This youthful aspiration to be free was relevant and played to a pizza-fuelled punchline.

Excellent buddy chemistry between the 2 leads, again it's a shame I haven't but a performance rating on my score system this year as that was the most charming thing about the film.

Camera framing was ok and I like that you took the time to make your own announcement video to play on the TV in the background. There have been a few other teams who didn't pay as much attention to detail regarding the legalities of pre-recorded footage this year I can assure you, so thank you for playing by the rules!

Sound was a bit raw and out of sync slightly a couple of times, but no biggie because I could hear what your characters were saying.

I think that also while I have labeled this energetic at the beginning of my review that was more because of the friend without powers and his manic charisma. It (energy and movement) was definitely something that could have been expanded in scope, because sitting down in a house when you got superhero was a little bit of a missed opportunity.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Raspberry & Cola

Friends butt heads after the wrong flavoured drinks to enjoy on a beautiful warm day get ordered, with Everything Sticks attempting to show how the balancing act of intense friendship can be a struggle.

I think the performances here were strong, with the grump particularly effective at representing stubborness and the stressed peacemaker friend toeing a fine line of emotions as she internally battled towards compromise. A classic give and take situation, if you will.

Colour play was strong with well-defined characters, and the framing of the film at all times conveyed what an intense personal and private conflict this was despite being in an open public park.

However the subject matter was personally not the most engaging in my book. It felt like the issues of the drink flavour were repeated ad nauseum when points made were fairly clear and obvious from the outset. The other big issue for me is that when we received an answer to our dramatic question of how the wrong drink being ordered was going to be resolved, there was little emotional change in either woman and hence a lack of satisfaction for the ending.

On reflection, I get the feeling that a lot of the emotional turmoil was supposed to meet the invisibile element asked of the team. I worried when I saw the elements that this may come to light and unfortunately for me whilst arguably subversive, it just backfired a bit if that was the intepretation.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Happily Never After

Threw out all the stops to provide several vfx shots and whilst none were perfect I definitely commend you for the effort. Odd creepy little film had a book of the dead or something of a similar note summon fairytale demons and lull victims into a false sense of security. The tiny axe of the woodsman provided a good laugh and the tears of blood were a nice touch that added a nightmarish feel to events. I feel that a key element of horror is caring about the characters that are under threat so if the main girl being attacked by riding hood had been fleshed out a little bit more this film would have been stronger.

The Sounds Of Earth

With Voyager 1 swooping into view to kick start proceedings with a bang, it may comes as a surprise that the voyage of the 1970s space probe worked meerly as the ignition needed for a cutthroat examination of the human species itself.

A Small Blob Of Ice Cream's race against time here was a brilliant subversion of the genre, a darkly comic misanthropic celebration of the lust to kill and conquer those who are deemed different and therefore inferior.

Several shots had me wide eyed in awe such as the tractor beam. Wow. The aliens were incredibly well modeled and I loved the script throughout, with the language barrier that those from another world would have being brilliantly conveyed by some fantastic gargling 'voice' work.

Sound design was possibly my favourite part of this ditty with futuristic, metallic, scientific and alien sounds presenting a glorious pitch perfect outer space soundscape to proceedings.

Personally, I loved the purpose of racing to achieve the goal here, and the resolution had me chortling. I think a very minor thing for me was that the two protagonists didn't really feel differentiated until the very end of proceedings, and I do wonder if some slight conflict there could have elevated this further, but I loved it nevertheless.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Exit Room

Looked like might have been colour graded? A couple of scenes at least had some real depth to them whether touched up in post or not. A psychiatric ward presents us with the opportunity for Nicky to escape through her dreams, and this freedom acts as a catalyst to get out of the surrounding dooming isolated confinement of the ward. I believed the escape aspect in terms of how desperate the character seemed to be to not be restrained, but I felt like the film could have done with just a little more grounding in motivation for the characters.

Computer Crimes

Slightly slow burning (but still funny) start as an office worker suffered the consequences of not paying attention to shutting down his computer in the race to try out a new Turkish restaurant. Ramped up a gear once the story got to prison, which looked great and garnered a good audience response. Fast and punchy, would not have been too out of place in a Spike and Mike compilation.

The Horror

SIX MILLION MURDERED? What the hell is she watching on TV to start this film? But the fact that the lead actress immediately jokes about the content with her friend before we bang into dramatic music just sets the strange tone for the whole thing.

Only said dramatic music immediately works as a red herring for a news broadcast as our protagonist continues to be a slave to the tube even when a shadowy figure flashes past her window outside.

For me the idea of a possible intruder is pretty tense, and I got moments where it felt like we were watching the girl through the eyes of the potential attacker ala CACHE only for things to take a turn when she summizes that she thinks her house is haunted, via text. Comedic ending was a bit ho hum in my book.

Technically this had quite a bit of fuzz on the soundtrack, and whilst the team nailed the lighting at times, there were also instances of white balance being overblown, or angles not being lit enough leaving footage as grainy.

I did enjoy the naturalistic presentation and attempt at a message at the very end, though maybe some imagery or visual could have been included to really nail the point? We do allow stock footage in this comp, after all. Just an idea.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Tart de Turd

We've all had bosses who are a bit too demanding, though chauvinistic and abusive as per this film absolutely makes the revenge satisfying. A very raw film as a kitchen worker gets pushed over the edge by her unfair manager.

My personal take on the script is that there was such a high level of demand on the poor worker that the comment on him disliking female chefs because they are always late really felt a bit sexist and unnecessary for the plot of the film. But I was in two minds to bring that up because it looks like there was a female producer or director on the team, and I guess the whole idea was to show what an asshole the boss character was/is.

From a technical level there were some flaws that could have been improved upon. The audio on this short was wildly fluctuating with some echoey dialogue in the open indoor areas the short was shot in, whilst characters talked over the top of each other a couple of times when a singular character talking would have focused the action for the audience.
I also felt the edit was a bit jumpy, with the 50/50 line broken on numerous occassions. Camerawork also took me out of fully engaging a bit as the white balance had some issues resulting in several shots overblown with bloom, plus some out of focus.
Lastly in terms of framing some of the choices in particular in the restaurant created distance by using medium or long side on shots, when I just personally felt that some isometric or even front on shots of key characters would have brought the action to life in a more cinematic fashion.

Plotwise the basic idea of film was fine, and a cat shit resolution absolutely ticked the satisfying box of revenge as well as your gross out comedy requirement for genre, but the script to deliver the plot in an engaging fashion needed work and I just feel that technically there was a lot that could have been improved.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 1/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1/5

All Fur Nothing

Shame about the DQ as for the 2nd year in a row I really enjoyed what Look at daddy have produced for the competition, this time stepping up their game from a technical point of view in a big way, with excellent deeply saturated cinematography, a good soundscape and top lighting, as a scientist develops an electronic necklace to make his lovable pet pooch talk with him. Some crass humour but also very well done in terms of comedic timing and delivery, and the edit was spot on. When the master gets what's coming to him was a truly rewarding watch.

Imaginary Friends

Childhood imaginary friends returned to try and help an adult Vic Meyer get to sleep. As each represented a different personality treat, they also explained/tried their own remedies and cures. I thought this had some real potential, but was a little bit too varied. If the idea was to reflect Vic's frustrating then you succeeded, but was hard to tell. Getting inside his inner thoughts really got the short going somewhere, but then it ended a bit abruptly.

Eyes Crust Shut

Given that Tasteful Side Boob + We Fight Like Girls (who had members from this team) previously regularly had gross out comedy elements in their films, this genre honestly felt absolutely made for this particular team...and they nailed it. Three news anchors come into the office, suspiciously wearing sunglasses that don't quite hide the fact that there is something lurking near their eyes. The script was cracking here, delving into the issues of screwing the crew versus what HR policies might dictate you should be doing in the office. I loved that the free spirits just went their own way here, and when it was time for 'News Zealand' you knew the proverbial shit was going to hit the fan. Highlights included the flashback to the previous night of debauchery, the TV director losing his mind which played off ever so nicely compared to the sexually liberal presenters, and the gooey squishy vomity makeup and effects. Basically this was a life lesson about butt stuff.

One Last Game

Definitely adventure more than action as a couple of siblings set out for treasure that they believe their grandfather will have left them after they scatter his ashes. This sparks the sister up as she has been given a 48 hour notice of foreclosure, and so the hunt for treasure represents a chance to save the farm. That description makes the plot far more convulated than it was. The main charm behind this film was its true blue kiwi dialogue and positive energy, which overcame any technical shortfalls it may have had.

Made Maid

Frustrated young brats try to manipulate their android babysitter to go from young kid levels of entertainment to adult (3.5 inch disks storing the ability to change, much to my amusement). The plot developed nicely and the android POV shots were quite well done, as was the excellent final shot. I think your young leads did a stellar job, and the choice to go with a darkly comic approach gave the story credence.

The Sleeping Plot

Knocked it out of the park; finals for sure, maybe nationals. Parents try to comfort their young girl about an unfortunate event, whilst she at the same time develops a plan to make $37 after a visit to the local gardening store. Great production values, excellent script and a superb performance by the lead actress. I loved that you basically showed the whole thing from the child's POV with the adults lower halves being shown when we were watching through her eyes. Darkly comic, children with ice creams and swear jars will never be the same again.

Battle Royale with Cheese

Oh so short but oh so much action. I think this would actually be touch and go whether it met the 60 second requirement. An all out assault on the senses and each other as the film was basically a big brawl in a carpark as they all fought for their "last chance" that included a couple of neat night vision shots. Finger guns have been done before but it established the film's own little universe well. Good example to be honest that bigger is now always better as I'm not really sure what else could have been said outside this framework that would have matched the intensity displayed on screen.

Hero

So I couldn't help but look at the reviews for this film before the grand final and it STILL got to me. FUCK....

Vic Dreams

I know that it is obviously your team's style, but shooting 9:16 just seems bizarre on the cinema screen. The reason that Hollywood has historical shown more image wider than taller is that most audiences don't care about the lower half of actors, but I don't need to lecture, I'm sure you had your reasons for doing it this way. It was a fun little film about an English Language teacher being absolutely adored by his class. All lessons try and steer clear of the subject of sleep for obvious reasons, but once his condition is found out it allows the obsession levels to ramp up...Just writing that now I realised that you kind of got the character trait wrong as he was constantly sleeping, wasn't he? Given my own film had a dream with a girl with an umbrella I'm willing to cut your some slack.

Hot Knights: The Bob, Rob Medieval Bod Swap

Europe-ish 1247 was a time where pan flutes, wigs and magical gems were the order of the day...as well as a bit of body switching initiated by wizard's tongues. As per usual breakneck pacing and inimitable humour were the order of the day for this fantastic team. You could feel the camaraderie shine through on screen. I can't wait to see it again.

The Seven Problems

A zoomer whodunnit that moved at a frenetic pace to try and shove as much storytelling and characters as possible into its 3 minute run time. This was vibrant, zany and colourful and played nicely on the trop of an unreliable narrator.

The 2 main things I would have suggested working on would have been slightly more interesting locations or backgrounds. You had a vibrant aesthetic so the contrast of the plain wall and gymnasium did desaturate the mood just a tad. Secondly would be audio. Loud audio can be fine just if it peaks too much it can be a little harsh on the ears, and whilst I appreciate that having all the characters argue was because of the ferocity of the debate, having them talk over each other meant that I lost some key dialogue in proceedings.

On second watch here in the screening room I'll give you props for a lot of your edit, with some really smooth transitions especially when moving from static interviews to dyanmic recollections because static to fluent is not always the easiest to pull off, so well done there. But I feel like the film did need to relax just a little bit. As I mentioned it was over in 3 minutes whereas I personally felt that for the film to breath, we as viewers might have needed 20 or 30 seconds more. Same story but just not quite as frenetic pacing would have made the story clearer. Just my 2c.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Sleepless in Seatoun

A late night infomercial addict, and an infomercial star with a few issues at the local TV studio have their lives chronicled back and forth, which led to some fantastic visual gags. The performance of the lead actress in particular was fantastic, and this had a huge crowd reponse. My only real issue bringing this film down was that I felt the resolution was entirely predictable, although the physical comedy made up for that.

Bad Eggs

Egg-cellent animation here, as a band of hard boiled pirates sing shanties about how they live their swashbuckling lives aboard a pirate ship on the seven seas. There was some beautiful lighting, and the editing and moving faces of the egg pirates matched really well with the music, with each one given a visibly unique portrait, but for mine the story could have used a little bit more development.

We were gifted with brief snippets of treasure, monster, and plundering yolks of folks who these bucaneers didn't like, yet these golden moments were in passing. Yes it created a sense of world building, and the idea of the whole world being inhabited by humanoid eggs piqued my interest, but it was all over just a bit too quickly.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Robert's Ring

You made my head hurt a bit which is both good and bad, because the best parts of this gave me chills which is bloody rare for a 48Hours film. I loved the disjointed evil fragmentation with a strong attempt at producing your own lore - some of those shots were textbook Obayashi by way of Mario Bava as I could see a sure strong hand was behind this film. However both my notes and memory are struggling to discern a clear plotline for the film but it seemed like the evil was wanting to shape its own reality? Had the plot been a bit clearer you could have had a contender.

The Score

Now that was a long 30 second intro. A regular Casanova with magic hands manages to work his way his way into the hearts and tongues of quite a few young women across the course of the film. However treating them as things to be used is obviously not an acceptable way to act, and so a plot is set in place to look to stop those hands from working their magic any further. The ease with which he hooked up with anyone he wanted got some good responsive laughs, but it also meant that the plot was a bit thin.

Hot Knights: The Bob, Rob Medieval Bod Swap

Europe-ish 1247 was a time where pan flutes, wigs and magical gems were the order of the day...as well as a bit of body switching initiated by wizard's tongues. As per usual breakneck pacing and inimitable humour were the order of the day for this fantastic team. You could feel the camaraderie shine through on screen. I can't wait to see it again.

Heat Vision Harry and The Barefoot Bandit

After catching a bathroom science experiment in the eyes, young Harry realises that the chemical reaction has given him heat vision! Forward to a year later with a clear refinement in his powers and he now has a folley to catch - The Barefoot Bandit!

This was an entertaining little film that laid out all the tropes you would expect from a superhero film with an origin, some vfx, and a supervillain to contend with. Done by a younger team they were inventive and had a transparent plot so definitely showed up a lot of the adults.

The actor playing Harry did a fine job, with an excellent reaction in particular when his eyes got invaded by chemicals. The PREDATOR-like vision immediately after was a lovely touch to show his powers developing.

The main things that would have helped improve the film further were to do with editing and framing. The ideas were there, they just needed to be streamlined a little bit more. For example the opening scene was long and had a jumpy edit whereas a snappier single take starting after the first cut with him looking up the experiment in the book would have had the audience immediately engaged in the action. Also a close up on the experiment book would have helped a great deal I think.

In terms of framing, I just noticed a shot or two were actors involved in action or running were obscured by a fence shot from a distance. Just for keeping things engaging for action shots, getting a little bit closer to your actors may have helped. Lastly lighting did have some inconsistencies indoors, though I really appreciated the neon bulb that jazzed things up in the opening scene.

But the thing is you did get outdoors! Made the effort for your costumes! Used the invisibility element really well! And after the slowish start really made a fun superhero action film where the inventiveness shone, such as a paper written "explosives room" sign. Well done and thanks for entertaining me.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Afternoon Tea

Peruvian tea = the perfect remedy to settle the nerves when you're on the run from something crazy that gets hinted at more strongly as the film develops. This theatrical piece was particularly well acted by the man in the robe, espousing the wonders of his peppermint hot drinks from South America, whilst his 'friend' struggled to stay calm, understandable given he was carrying a gun and his arm was heavily bandaged. Just about the right level of dark comedy, well measured and from a technical point of view the edit itself was on point. Plus really good lighting and clean sound.The reason this probably just missed out on the Wellington shortlist would have been a couple of minor things. Firstly, the whole story was essentially a sit around and talk on the couch affair, with just the bust in and finale to break up proceedings. This would have definitely counted against the team given the real time genre. Secondly, whilst I personally loved the script, as it's genuinely rare to see a team let their film breathe like this and world build, it was actually a tad slow placed. Just minor quibbles, though.

Affinity

I saw you had some decent gear in your intro, so not quite sure what happened with your motion problems; possibly an issue outputting in 25 frames? There was some excellent comedic back and forthing between a brother and sister 'taken your pills?' - 'nup.' but other than that, this tale of a girl who would do anything to impress her first date (after being stood up the last couple of times) was ok. It needed more action, or more adventure, or ideally a combination of both. You hit some genre troupes such as the one liners and running from baddies but needed more.

Arthur's Adventure

First award controversy of 2021! Your 'Teacherer' should 100% in my book have been up for best performer in Taranaki. Fantastic screen presence, you brought a big grin to my face!

Onto the good stuff though, being a zany effort regarding card game loving Arthur and his battles with the evil Teacherer, who bans the popular game Snake Bandits due to too much fun taking away from character building. Our hero of course has an offhand power, that of imagination, and his villanous oponent may have some deep dark secrets hiding in the recesses of his mind.

The film was bold and confident, with larger than life characters throughout. I was genuinely impressed at the technical quality of the staged newscasts that peppered the film, but the camerawork throughout the majority of the rest of the film felt a little loose, and I felt that narration was relied on a little too heavily. Still, like I said, The Teacherer gave one of my favourite performances so far in this comp. Well done whoever you are!

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

The Magic Word

Our lead loses his girl to Bobby Young, the leading superhero in Superville, where everyone has some sort of power. The rest of the film gets spent trying to learn/develop a superpower so that he can win her back. It looked good, and had a cool glass moving shot, but the power that he ending up getting seemed pretty naff to me.

The Last Lord of Scotland

After a guy pops the question to his girlfriend of 8 months and she doesn't quite give him the answer he is looking for, things avalanche when the photographer he hired doesn't quite capture the magic moment he was paid for.

But this was all done fairly lightheartedly, playing in the family friendly heat for the night, as a terrific script then allowed the characters to explain and explore their true thoughts and feelings, with the click happy professional in the back working as a nice comic foil.

As to the Scotland reference in the title, well that is very cleverly incorporated and adds sentimental value as well as offering some reflective commentary on love not being measured by money or a ring. Honestly it seemed like something that only a true romantic could have come up with so I salute you for that.

For a film mainly set in a car I thought the cinematography was superb. I could definitely tell your spent time on your colour grade. Framing, editing and camerawork were on point and with your location choice it meant really clear audio. Everything was bright and positive. The sheepish gentleman ticked all the boxes of a well constructed reluctant hero, whilst the brief moments that recalled the mother-daughter bond gave our lead actress strength.

My main concern is that I feel that conclusion was just a little bit crammed. These fully developed characters seemed like the types who would have reevaluated things, but I get why you made that decision for your short. Plus it led to a smile inducing final shot.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Strewth Ruth

Placeholder review.

Saviour

[DQ] Oh man I feel for you guys as this was the best high school entry I have seen in years in Wellington but understand was late due to rendering issues. Sigh... Moving on to this brilliant film; a couple of survivalists raid wherever they can in the search for supplies in particular food and medicine. The medicinal aspect of the film was a very important one as with one party in very poor health it meant reliance on the other where scavengers shoot on sight ala THE ROAD was everything. Yet genuine love and friendship was provided eg, through the literal warmth of a campfire story tale. This took a less is more approach in terms of lore but still presented danger and dystopia to nail the genre. Rock solid acting, absolutely exceptional cinematography (whoever was your DoP needs to pursue film as a career if they don't already) and a gorgeous musical score tied this together beautifully. Never saccharine either as you always believed the characters would do whatever they had to do. EDIT - I am a Judge and Judge's comment removed re: Desikiwi by me - I had nothing to do with this film. Play nice :)

Subterfuge

Buddy cops with afros, wayfarers and thin moustaches straight out of the 70s go on the rampage in search of their missing chapstick. Whilst their good cop bad cop interrogation tactics may not work at least they have female help they can call in. Overall farily bugnuts in style, with homemade bulletproof vests, out there camera angles and confident screen presence by our 2 leads. The bravado was genuinely impressive, as was the quickfire spiel at the end about missed weddings, exorcisms and divorces. Just very very raw.

Meyer's Mime

Just because you included a computer and a digital camera in your film, does not cover your bases for the TECHNO thriller requirement. Also, the uncleared use of a few seconds of Bad Moon Rising by CCR in the background of one shot was a big no-no. Those were the negatives; the positives were that you made a great looking creepy film about a clown mime who is a little bit too comfortable with children. Despite being technically pretty good, the storyline needed development. There's a point where you can leave things up to the audience, but here I found it frustrating. Good work getting a big audience gasp, though.

Maurice

Sorry forgot to mention the obvious parallels to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Curse this site and not being able to edit reviews! Surely IT'S A BOGAN LIFE would have been a more apt title? :)

streets of wishes

Ok so I'm literally one of the biggest fans of 'Streets of Rage' that you'll ever meet so when that logo came up I was hooked from the get go. The beat em' up guy who wishes he no longer has to clean up the streets, well wishes are meant to be granted in this genre right but before you know it this has gone on a massive left turn, right turn and then slapped you in the face when it comes to your expectations. Retro aesthetic was clean and simple but perfect for your switch fighter. Hilarious. Voice acting soooo good!!!

Hacked Off

Not a mystery film, just had a twist by having Bobby Young dead under the table all along. Because Eclipse Entertainment are being cunts adding multiple reviews to films it's only fair they get half a star for not doing their genre properly.

Scooping Up the Truth - What Happened To Brain Boy

Everyone has a person or thing that they look up to in life, and it can be a lifelong dream to be granted an audience. For me that was George Romero, who I met in 2008 and he was basically just a cranky old man. Here Bush Gang show through their CHRONICLE inspired mockumentary how our heroes are often just as fallible as we are.

Brain Boy is our interviewer's golden goose, a child prodogy with telekenesis and molecule manipulation powers with a particular affinity for spoons, and we see how 10 years of searching has allowed a comic book hero become just a regular person, or so it seems.

Technically this was pretty good, in particulary I really liked your flying spoon VFX and superhero eyes, though bit weirded out by the change from flat to scope aspect ratio just over halfway through, the story was a bit of letdown for me.

Not just because of the mockumentary style, although that did in my opinion produce some meandering interview moments, but I felt like the narrative arc put so much weight on finding Brain Boy, that for them to just...be there... meant we had to reset our story expectations, and instead got Brain Boy rambling about their life and then getting upset at the crew for laughing at their pet rock confidant.
Honestly the film just fell apart for me in the last 90 seconds during the rage and inner monologue. If there was a metaphor or analogy you were trying to cover here it missed me sorry.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 1/5 (the pet rock as the confidant was a huge miss)
Overall: 1/5

BLANKING: THE UNSEEN ART

A.F.M! (If you know me from this competition you'll know what that stands for). But yep...a mockumentary, which if you don't get as your genre I absolutely can't stand in this competition. It was well done and all I guess; covering an advanced form of hide and seek where the objective is to actually disappear as quickly as possible, or sometimes for as long as possible when considering 'endurance' blanking. But mockumentaries are a cop out. It also wasn't 16:9 [windowboxed] and end credit was '48 Hours 2011' (not the actually required wording) which just added to my annoyance.

The Way Of The Cube

Placeholder review.

The Birthday

Those two minutes of uninterrupted dancing at the start of the film were the longest two minutes of the heats. Surely could have been trimmed, and didn't really add much to the plot at all. Once it got going the jibberish dialogue was pretty ridiculous, although the use of the line in audible English made me laugh out loud. Developed nicely into a tale of parents getting upset at their daughter choosing a much older man. Silly but completely random and couldn't stop watching.

Inconsequential Halucinations

Absolutely dreadful.

I'm A Horse

Holy hell this was by far the most flat-out entertaining film of the first night of heats in Wellington. A guy who can’t sleep of course takes a pill only to be awoken by a man with a horse’s head. Well, now we can’t have our sleep being interrupted can we? A violent revelatory mindfuck with a damn catchy little ditty tidying it all together. Nailed the genre and POV shot with aplomb too.

Good Grief

Beautifully shot film as a funeral for a dearly beloved dog is accidentally interrupted by a snappy little pupper from next door. Played mostly stone faced with little bits of light spread throughout, I personally loved some of the humane touches such as the older man taking a rainbow coloured umbrella to the remembrance (when my own sister died a few years ago everyone dressed up in as bright colours as possible so that personally hit quite close to the bone). And the little boy not wanting to say goodbye had this almost hitting that really hard to reach sweet spot of emotion that is so so hard to do in this comp. Possibly the best overhead shot in Wellington as well. Music sweeping and on point too, for the most part. But I can unfortunately see why this didn't make the final. To nitpick, the camerawork was brilliant for the most part, and I totally appreciate going handheld a good amount to convey the raw emotion of the characters, however I noticed slight focus shifts as shots came into focus on a regular basis and it was honestly a little bit distracting. I mean at times it worked as it really directed focus but at other times it just seemed a slightly out of place stylistic choice. I cannot however complain about the sound which was crystal clear. The main issue which would have slightly held this back, as obviously the judges liked it well enough for it to make the shortlist, was that the script lost its way in the final minute. Obviously you're not going to get a perfect ending in 48, but the stealing of the dog and reaction did feel like a tonal jolt. The actors did a fine job and this probably did go close to making the Wellington final, it's just yeah for me personally that wrap up left me scratching my head :(.

Love.

After playing a game all night, two close knit friends talk about how things might change if one of them comes out of the closet to their parents. This had some excellent sound design as the lead actor dealt with the inner demons in his head, which were given actual demonic sounds to truly represent the personal torture that he was going through. Raw and admirable this broke down a lot of walls with a simple story well told. Would have got even higher marks from me if there were not stretches where the audio needed work; it was audible as the boys walked past all the cars but the car noise did make the dialogue lose some of its impact. Just so much unbridled love from friends and family in this story made my heart swell, this was a delight to get to watch in a cinema. Thank you.

Death of the Twilight Flower

Promising title but did not quite live up to its promise with music that could have been considerably improved. Perhaps dance next time if you draw the genre of doom? Having said that I had a good hearty laugh at your song about Fruit Loops. The aftermath of an Earthquake leads to NB being in hospital, but she also dreams and has to get away from guys with malicious intentions. There was the opportunity to do a lot more with the parallel worlds but it didn't quite add up.

Indelible

Placeholder review.

Prime's Numbers

I don’t like giving away plot points, so I won’t, but something seemed amiss here to me in terms of tying everything together. This is of course not necessary, especially if the whole thing was potentially imagined as it seemed. Quite surreal in tone with bodies falling down windows and laying on railway tracks, as well as eyeball violence [Un Chien Andalou?], we chronicled a “Prime”s resistance to helping out those with more grandiose plans. Enough is enough; she wants sleep, where they can be killed, and they need to keep her awake through any means necessary. I thought this bended your genre too far but would be willing to give it a second chance.

Full-Night

Well this was a tantalising little film that left me wondering what would happen next, capturing the erotic part quite and the intrigue it created at the end being enough to satisfy me re: its thriller quotient. Having been texted to cum ova 4 a feast, might get luky, our Nicky does exactly what he's told. And given the apparent interest shown in him as soon as he walks in the door, who wouldn't, right? Of course blindfolds and restraints aren't always the best things to have applied when you soon realise that a party of 2 might never have been the intended course of action. I would have liked a little more dialogue but appreciate keeping it up for interpretation.

The Game of Solitaire

What seems like a man playing solitaire in an empty abandoned house quickly becomes something completely different. I think this was the most beautiful film of night one out in Wellington, and in my book they absolutely nailed their genre. Perfect example of leaving it up to the audience to interpret a number of things. Played with sound nicely and the on-screen dynamics developed well as the film went on.

Self-A-Were

Big fan of GINGER SNAPS here so let me tell you this film was right up my alley! Simple but clean and polished animation well aware of exactly how important the eyes are to any romantic situation and to bring out an impressive level of emotions to the characters was no mean feat. I thought the script was particularly grounded in the lycanthropian world, reflecting the awkwardness and messy excitement of a first date with aplomb. Whilst chillwave jazz is not normally my cup of tea I also found that the score brought an ambience to proceedings that sat well with the full moon human feast and efforts to impressive each other by the female werewolves through attitude and effort. Sound was clear and concise add editing let the film breath (thank you) despite the short run time so not much to fault from a technical pov. Script was solid too with a couple of strong jokes. My only minor complaint is that it was slightly hard to differentiate the two characters the first time I watched the film with no names being given and being drawn in such a similar way, although this was less of a weakness on subsequent viewings. Top work and appreciate Liam putting his money where his mouth is and delivering the goods! :)

BLANKING: THE UNSEEN ART

A.F.M! (If you know me from this competition you'll know what that stands for). But yep...a mockumentary, which if you don't get as your genre I absolutely can't stand in this competition. It was well done and all I guess; covering an advanced form of hide and seek where the objective is to actually disappear as quickly as possible, or sometimes for as long as possible when considering 'endurance' blanking. But mockumentaries are a cop out. It also wasn't 16:9 [windowboxed] and end credit was '48 Hours 2011' (not the actually required wording) which just added to my annoyance.

Achy Breaky Hero

There's a lot riding on your shoulders when you are the first film to play in the first heat across all of NZ! But kicking things off this year with a cheeky charming puppet superhero film was a great way to start proceedings.

Good voice work here across the range of characters in the film, and there were some tellingly truthful messages here that a real hero does not use their powers to do bad things.

Quite a detailed script giving the characters depth to be honest, comparing and contrasting one with a broken heart and others who are casual and have moved on with their lives. I like how you kept everything grounded in reality, albeit with animal puppets.

Visually really appealing, and whilst you worked with what you had I think the lack of mouths on the characters was the minor detail that did create slight issues for me. This was because every time there were 2+ characters in shot, even though the voice work was good, it made it a tad confusing to follow due to one person doing all the voice work.

But on that note I'm incredibly impressed this was a 1 person school entry. Well done and please come back next year and keep making films!

Story: 3/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Silver Leaf

A seriously done mix of the world ending (through flashback) and world after the apocalypse has come. I thought that the urgency was really good as our leads tried to get away from a quarantine - where did you get those gas masks from?! The wasteland of Tawa also leant itself well afterwards to show a disparate land. The roaming gangs were done well in terms of their marauding style and there was a decent resolution. I guess I really liked the fact that they captured the mass hysteria of the word essentially ending rather than just having a select few after the fact, or bothering with anything philosophical. It was happening and so shit had to get sorted.

6A

An eco-conscious woman keeps taking the effort to make sure the recycling is done correctly, but gets very frustrated at being undermined by her neighbour. So she goes to her flatmate Bobby Young for help, who comes up with some pretty devious plans for revenge. However when writing a letter to sort out the situation, our lead forgets the other side already had something written on it before getting it through to their messy neighbour. This results in brilliantly awkward confusion. The non-recyclable guitars and team intro were simply fantastic, this film was more about the creation of a want for revenge, rather than carrying it out.

The Eyes Have It

After a mysterious redheaded woman runs down a hall and climbs into a mysterious box, our film cuts to a picture of her being pronounced as missing and from there this film investigates her disappearance.

To me the best thing about this film was its wonderful ethereal musical score which elevated proceedings a lot in terms of tone. I also really liked the tracking camerashots that were particularly smooth for a 48 Hours film. The missing woman sold a sense of desperation as she ran down the hall and the lead actress delivered her lines well.

But for me personally the story was very light. I found the plot very predictable given the invisibility element the second that the woman climbed into the box, and did have my suspension of disbelief challenged when a school was effectively standing in for the 'neighbourhood' that the detective was asking around in.

Having said that, the ending was nicely done and left things with a satisfying conclusion that felt a bit like the Twilight Zone, redeeming a lot of the film.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Last Chance

On the verge of a relationship breakdown, the lead actor went for a walk where he saw elements of his past, present and future. Whilst clearly inspired by A Christmas Story, this had some good stuff going for it on a technical level, and I admired the 'trapped in the frame' very much when you consider how much effort must have been put in to get the shot.

Breadcrumbs

I know it was only acapella and for less than 5 seconds, but you still can't use BLACK EYED PEAS - I GOTTA FEELING in this competition, guys! sheesh! But with regards to the film itself, it was a serious effort that I guess made the point to live each day to the max. Our hospitalised lead really has this hit home to him when he flashbacks to previous memories before his accident, but this time does it through the bodies of his friends. Serious overuse of focus on the bedridden's eyes to try and manipulate the audience I thought, but hey that's just me. Technically decent otherwise.

Black Death

Black Death has been killing people throughout the City. Bobby Young tries to train 3 young women as superheroes, but that gets curtailed when she gets kidnapped. It's up to the girls to try and rescue her, by making their way to the villain's lair. Cool costumes and a polished film, but the story was well worn and I was a bit puzzled by the fake accents.

Ribena Tree

Now here's a film I have been aching to turn up in the screening room, because it was one of my absolutely favourites in the whole competition this year, and honestly I feel a strong darkhorse to make the national film. Seriously touching subject matter about learning to accept and love yourself, Rame Media you hit me right in the feels.

Firstly, EXCEPTIONAL performance by your lead actor, who is considering an upgrade from the slightly sinister and most definitely superficial Alexa Cybernetics, who can help with creaking bones, aching muscles, physical disabilities or if you just want to become 30cm taller. Said actor was stoic, charismatic, introspective and assured when they develop a friendship with a young man in the waiting room. It appeared that they actually had a physical disability with their arm and I loved the way you took a slightly meta approach to make something so uplifting.

In terms of further praise, your music score was an absolutely perfect fit for the subject matter. I forgot to note whether it was an original composition or stock, but whoever edited made every note a winner. The heartbeat was also so well placed it was one of the very few I made a note of in my review book about.

There were a couple of minor misses for me. It sounded early on like fake American accents were being used for the technology company (please forgive me if they were genuine), and technically whilst the job got done very well, it was a little flat in terms of cinematography particularly in terms of backgrounds whereas a slightly stronger depth of focus would have elevated the film even further. However that was balanced out by the fact that we were able to concentrate our attention 100% on the actors who were so fantastic.

Story: 5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Private Invasion

Wait this was coming of age? That makes a lot of sense! I forgot to write down the genre when taking my notes so had assumed sci-fi for this alien giving his first anal probe. The posters around Wellington asking for volunteers to get probed really set the scene nicely, and the fact it was just all yeah ok sweet I'm here for the probe and played straight made the film even stronger. Whilst not exactly a bildungsroman I appreciated that this did explore personal growth, and was a clear metaphor for losing virginity in my mind. The fact that it may not have actually been a first time probe played off really nicely with some charming dialogue interplay between our two leads. Several notes for the genre were hit, I think what could have made it slightly stronger would have been some personal introspection for the alien prior to the probe, to know that the probe was such a huge deal for their development. Costumes, set design and props were wall handled and the camerawork was solid though static.

Sunday in the Park with Mary

Oops I forgot to review this one last night. Some good melodies and realistic situation between the two leads as they start dating only struggling to overcome stagnation. As others have said this could have done with a bit more work in post but I noted some good melodies and the ending was genuinely heartfelt.

Him & Her

An exceptional red curtain opening shot sets the stage for GREASE-inspired retellings of how a romance came to be, with the screen real estate being very cleverly choreographed at all times despite having only one performer on the team.

Clever quips and lyrics, along with quality melodies meant that the music here was entertaining. Due to the rapidfire nature of the lyrics I completely understood the team choosing to use subtitles to show what was being sung, though this created the issue of having to choose between reading lyrics or focusing on actions on screen, with something almost always going on.

The moments where the film truly shone for me were when the multiple performers looked like they were in unison reminiscent of Busby Berkely.

I could see you being up for a best performer award in Christchurch, and in terms of presentation this was a solid film, but it fell down for me in terms of plot development by being 90% set on stage and covered by wide shots. HAMILTON is cool and all, but when what the lyrics are singing about is the beginning of a new romance, I couldn't help but feel like I was watching a stage show and being talked/sung at. I needed more connection with the story for this to really work effectively as a film. The ending almost got there, but it felt like the resolution was going to be more of the same rather than an emotional release in my book.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2/5

Con Troll Alt Delete

Easily Nutbar's best 48Hours film I was impressed by the significant improvements made by the team to produce this 2016 entry. Relaying the dark thoughts of meandering office existence that I am sure many people have thought, a magical toy troll sets the scene for a frantic explosive low budget gore finale. Practical effects were worked well and the wild (but very well handled) camerawork was reminiscent of early Sam Raimi. Playful and funny but still disturbing at times nothing was left on the table - the spaghetti brains made it to the microwave!

Discord

Placeholder review.

Strings Attached

This gave me flashbacks to a film called 'The Manipulator aka BJ Lang Presents'. This is not a good thing. After capturing and sewing up two guys and a girl as human puppets, it is time for us to sit back and watch the show put on by the lead actress who is in control of the actors and the cinema audience. The makeup she put on the captives was creepy at first, and the sewn mouth still is come to think of it, but it got tedious quickly.

BOB...Interdimensional Wool Courier

'Interdimensional Wool Courier' says it all doesn't it? especially when that story is told in psychedelic hues of blue, purple and yellow with such artistic brilliance that any frame could be a painting. My understanding of this film was that Arlo Edwards simply said "I'm going to have a lot of fun and throw a shitload of effects at the film" on the 48Hours weekend. Mission not just completed but the trippiest film the competition has ever seen may well have been created. Sometimes films are just about feeling and this one hit me with all sorts of warm fuzziness. Yet whilst you could just sit back and be gobsmacked in the eyeballs the film works on many levels. Yes it speaks of the futile nature of human existence being on only one dimension. Yes it gives the impression that forced harvesting for whatever reason is distressing to the animals...I may be reaching on that one. Surreal, oneiric, futuristic absurd cartoonish sci-fi that quite literally pulsates with a plot that to me seemed very open to interpretation. Very special, thank you.

The Hitchhiker

First of all, yikes at using drunk driving as comedy even if a throwaway line. Not cool.

Blink Blue Media went down the mysterious stranger as hitchhiker route, and nicely subverted audience expectations with many tonal beats that seemed like they were made to match the 1986 cult classic THE HITCHER, only to present things completely differently.

Things even got into meta-commentary at times, with the hitchhiker recording that he did not know what was real at the same sort of time that the events unfolding on screen were blurring a dreamlike line between reality for viewers as well.

I think the script was the strongest aspect of the film, which was important given it was largely driven by dialogue. Performances were decent in particular by the titular hitchhiker who carried an air of mystery to himself throughout proceedings. I genuinely liked how open ended it was as well.

What threw me a little bit was the conclusion, which seemed like it was trying to create an arc that would make us reevaluate prior events, but honestly was a little predictable.

Technically the film had some fantastic cinematography, at times, and then other moments where the lighting got away from the team. Audio was good though.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Earth 2.0

Genuinely batshit insane. I saw the title and was expecting something inspired by the old Tim Curry sci fi show from the 90s and instead got a hilarious romp through the last day on earth in Wainui. Boy oh boy this team was out to entertain. A lot of jokes missed but several of them hit such as the meteor spotted out the window with a "nope!" response. The fight to be the last survivor on the last rocketship anyone would realistically want to stake their life on was mind boggling stuff, from the blunt gun death through to jenken. But the Prince of Wainui....just wow - not sure if incredibly strange or best worst is still a thing but you guys are up for my award this year at least. Sound was unfortunately very raw.

Brains?

Definite contender right here, folks. I've heard a few are popping up around the country and its not different in Wellington either with a number of films told from the zombies' perspective for once. However until you've seen this one I find it hard to explain just how original it was. Just really damn good scriptwriting I guess, stomach-churning gore and make up effects, and a strong knowledge of the undead. From the first 'Brains!' groan of the film the film makers immediately had you in the grasp of their hand. So much so that by the time it ended I had completely bought into the character dynamics of four supposedly not living creatures and found it quite touching. FORM A PACK. Well done, guys :D Edit: On second viewing I'm bumping this up to a 5/5. Holds up amazingly well and even better with a massive crowd.

Myopia

A novelist needs to take care of his baby when his wife goes away for the weekend. This all seems fine, even running into his old friend Bobby Young who is selling insurance door to door. However when he goes to check on his daughter the insurance seller seems to simply disappear. A few body parts found by the toddler make the audience otherwise aware, however. Genuinely unpleasant ending which was good for the genre.

Nan's Hole

When handsome Pete moves next door, our lead who lives with her grandma is gifted hope that hanging up her lingerie will perhaps not all be in vain. But with her being a clutz who trips over invisible banana skins at the best of time, nan perhaps needs to play a little bit of cupid to help romance along.

Some nice singing here, with lyrical content that actually developed the plot and provided depths to characters. The fencehole eyeball match up was a striking piece of camerawork for sure.

I do feel that the film was potentially missing a dramatic beat to the proceedings. It was clear that our lead wanted love, but everything to be honest simply fell into place a bit too easily I felt. If there has been some sort of roadblock or drama however minor, it would have made the conclusion more satisfying.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Consulting Victor Meyer

James Nokise is a funny man, and he carried this film rather excellently. As a government consultant, he is faced with the hard task of trying to raise more money through schools initiatives. Singing about how two birds can be hit with one stone by putting pokies in schools, he gets a conscience attack from old politicians on parliament grounds. All of this is of course conveyed through song, and whilst some of the lyrics were a bit muddied, the gist was good and any time that a line needed to be heard the team made sure it was.

Plover

A couple of crooks have a briefcase full of loot in a warehouse, and discuss how to divy out the cash between themselves. Only snag however, is when one of the crook's former tormenters Bobby enters upon the warehouse which he in fact owns. This film had some fantastic dramatic intensity, and was nicely shot. Shame it was disqualified.

Faux Pas

As a family drinks at a bar to mark the passing of a member, the attractive young daughter catches the attention of the waiter serving them. I'm not sure what the mother did or represented to stand in his way, as this developed into more of a horror film than a reunion film. Some of the script was quite good, but the showdown on the roof that led to strangulation lacked any tension.

Home

Big props to going for Ultra, this year was definitely not an easy requirement but this film was visually stellar with clever design decisions giving proceedings such a fantastical quality through the use of neon lighting.

The basic plot of the film was of potential alien contact, as sounds came through over the monitor for a girl who used to have earth as a home. This was contrasted with a couple of astronauts landing on a planet and reporting back that the terrain should be good to live on.

I'm not going to lie I think this leaned way more into sci-fi than fantasy, and realising this on second watch does detract points from the film for me big-time. I think that just including the alien voice sounds and having a fantastical tone pretty much skirts around the actual fantasy genre requirement.

Editing was in my opinion a mixed bag. There were some beautiful flowing dreamy transitions yet at other times slightly out of focus footage was left in, and then the astronaut dialogue scenes were wild as we had several cuts even mid sentence as the two people kept talking whilst sitting down. I personally found it distracting, and whilst I appreciate trying to keep up the energy in the film I think there needed to be more of a reason to edit the dialogue.

The actors delivered their lines well, but it also was expository and I just personally wish that we had a clearer narrative arc. As I said I liked the design and a lot of how the film looked and sounded, but was ultimately a little confused.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Flat Note

Big pat on the back for really getting stuck in and giving this genre a go. Obviously you didn't have access to the pro recording gear that some teams may have, but the fact that 90% of your film was sung does get my respect. Basically the head tenant calls a meeting to try and sort out some major flat issues, which get responses of the musical variety. I think there were three key things to this short that would have improved it; firstly, some dynamic action by having actors/camera movement rather than sitting around. Secondly, moving away from your flat as a shooting location, or if you do shoot in your flat then you need to add some eye catching visuals to make it stand out. Third, towards the end when you mixed all the songs together they did not seem to harmonise so perhaps stick to one at a time (although if that had come together it would have been great).

We built and destroyed a full sized B17 bomber specifically and only for this competition. Also known as "Banana Boys"

Because these reviews will (hopefully) last in the years to come, I'm going to note how absolutely insane it was that Tim Hamilton's team entered not just once on the first weekend in Wellington, but again on the second weekend where all teams who entered were placed in the Tamaki Makaurau region of the competition.
So yes this says they qualified for the Grand Final from the 09 region, but they very much shot using the same skeletal set down in the 04 that they had spent weeks on prior to making "We built and destroyed a full sized cardboard u-boat specifically and only for this competition. also known as “DAS BANANA-BOOT”. Even more incredibly, that film and this film are directly connected, taking place effectively during the same war. Just a staggering achievement, production wise.

For me, I honestly felt the film played as chaotic, for lack of a better word, on first watch. But I've come to realise that was an extremely harsh way to describe the film, because it is more a case of so much going on that a lot of it went over my head and I picked up a lot of the nuances on repeat viewings.

And also, chaotic kind of fits, in a good way, because war is chaos, and this film is about dealing with a plane being under attack from enemy fire and how the team rises to the occassion. Not just being under attack, but given it is a first flight for the crew the element of uncertainty about to what to do is presented very well. Perhaps a bit casually, but what that did was create a heightened sense of comedy as planes blew up and heads were exploded.

On that note this film had some of the best sound design I've ever come across in this competition. From the incredible folley used to genuinely sell the idea that the team were up in the air in a B17 bomber, through to the guns and splats everything just sounded right. I loved the last minute of musical score used in the film, letting things wrap up with a melancholy feeling, but also thought it was the right move letting everything play out using just the sounds of the battle for the first 3 and a half minutes, as it stressed the real time real urgency of the situation.

I must say I do still have some thoughts about the buddy film genre. Yes I got a big smile from the winks and nods to 4th wall breaking - "it's a genre thing", and we had two clear leads who developed a sense of camaraderie as the film progressed. But was that enough to have really nailed it? I personally am unsure. But still a staggering achievement.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Dark Cellars & Big Lizards

At the train station near the railroad tracks a group of friends becomes a guild of adventurers following a NARNIA-like earthquake whisking them away to a parallel world. Only the omnipresent overlord of the realm is playing a dangerous game with them.

I liked the initial location and how you subverted my expectations for the group moving between dimensions. Obviously at a transport hub you might expect some form of physical transportation rather than mystical. It was something that did not need to be explained, the few shakes of the camera, rumbling sound, and costume changes being plenty to tell us what had happened. Excellent story beat.

Once inside the D&D inspired game however I did feel the story became quite generic, with a straightforward plot where lessons needed to be learned. Even with it being relatively straightforward I thought the resolution was a bit sudden.

What I did like about your film was you going outside and going for it. It's a massive positive to me to get some landscapes and costumes in 48, and get away from a plain old house or flat. Well done there. Also BIG ticks for getting decent sound despite shooting on a windy day!

In terms of what could have had some slight improvements, I felt the blocking and framing could have been improved. Just little things like focusing our attention as a viewer by only having characters actively talking or reacting as part of the shot, as there were a few instances of characters standing around not doing much whilst others talked, and a couple of times where you did go for the focused shot there were accidentally chopped off heads or legs.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Pre-emptive Defense

OK I guess I had better review this one whilst it is still fresh in my memory coming off 2nd place in Wellington, congrats on that and good luck for potential national finals!

Onto the film itself, where a self-defense guru with 15 years training passes on his knowledge of impacting, incapacitating and impairing would-be attackers with hilarious effect to a class not ready for his swift authoritative action, made all the more difficult for one student when they take the wrong pills.

The performances here were top notch with Sam O'Connor as the direct professional instructor commanding powerful screen presence, whilst Josh Dey nailed the wide eyed beginner with aplomb. Script was also gold with incredibly memorable lines such as the penis being the CPU of the paedophile. Gold.

Editing was slick, and the reaction shot was killer too, evocating instant memories of Eric Stolz administering a needle in PULP FICTION. So yeah, I can definitely see the reason for the awards as story was strong and elements were nailed which is exactly what we're looking for from 48.

Now for mine there were a couple of things that held the film ever so slightly back. I mentioned it in my review of Tripping Point but yes utterly surreal seeing multiple teams with a race against time to stop drugs hitting the central nervous system of the protagonist. Plus as per my previous paragraph that was most definitely a Tarantino homage at least. So some of the key story beats not being the most original just personally I noticed, however it was balanced out by everything else being unique.

Ultra - shot in the dark was to be honest on the line for me. Like yeah it was an evening class in a dimly lit room, but not quite sure it fully ticked the 'in the dark' box there. I don't mind really though I think Ultra really shouldn't come into things when measuring entries against other teams.

Last personal slight negative for me was I thought the film looked great and it was a genuinely believable dojo/centre, but it also meant the background was a little bit plain. On the other hand that worked by allowing the strong script and performances to stand out. Which was helped by having crystal clear sound and sound design.

And that's just personal opinion, because the thing is everything was so tightly consistent in terms of grade and framing that its super hard to deny how bulletproof your cinematography win was.

One thing I will say though is that on first viewing through the heats I had the film marked down as a 3 or 3.5 out of 5. I thought the script was great but wasn't sure the story worked as a cohesive whole. However it 'came alive' for lack of a better term on second viewing, and seeing it on the big screen with 600+ others proved just how cinematic it was. I'm still not 100% on the story despite the great script (hence my arbitrary rating of 3.5/5) but in combination with the elements I truly see how it worked overall. So great job team, awesome to see legends like you continue to make rock solid films in this comp.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Odd Socks

At Odd Socks Anonymous, half a dozen foot anthropomorphic sweaty foot coverings try to come to terms with having lost their other halves, only for a long-time inhabitant of the building to offer hope and chance at redemption in spite of his gruff exterior as the story developed into a heart of darkness quest.

I thought the voice acting of the janitor here was really top notch, presenting a withered old sock who had lived a really hard life and gave the film a neo noir edge with his dark humour in particular the joke about baked milk.

I also liked how you tried to give several of the socks some character with distinctive drawings and memorable histories such as the sock who was relentlessly used by their former owner.

On a further positive not, for mine I liked the animation. A bit more texture to both the socks and backgrounds would have been nice to make the film come alive, but the constant movement of something on screen allowed it to feel organic for the most part. Colour play was strong and whilst sound was a little raw with some peaks, as advised the voice work was really well done so that made up for it.

The slight issues I had with the film is that it felt like a 2 part film with a focused opening half and a focused second half, rather than an organic beginning, middle and end. We were drawn into the group meeting quite suddenly, and then went on the quest when the power went out. For me this was possibily because the speeches of the socks went on a little bit too long and it felt like we were being talked to rather than engaged with at times.

I also wasn't the biggest fan of some of the janitor sock's humour which sometimes felt a bit crude and throwaway, especially given some of his wise words really did hit the mark in other places. He definitely did end up being an antihero, but perhaps the balance of that character was not quite right, for lack of a better word.

But I appreciate you went for it with a detailed script that had some very unique dialogue and the message of not needing a perfect match was resounding. Looking forward to more from you in future for sure.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Turn Around - Sweet Cheeks

Whilst young girls just want to have fun, so does their old man who is a boozer and also looking for love. However this is also a questionable dad with a history for vomiting all over the carpet and so some awkward humour ensues when he tries to make his move on a woman he has his eye on.

The performances of the girls was good, with some solid dialogue and actions showing how they are mature beyond their years and perhaps it is the dad who has some growing up to do.

Props for taking on Ultra, but I felt like this needed to be incorporated as a plot device more given you chose a suburban home for the location. By just having so much shot in the dark without justification it made a lot of the film grainy, out of focus and distracting. I do like how it was worked in a bit by making evening pickups of the kids though.

My personal take on the script was that the jokes were not my personal cup of tea, but that I could understand how others might find it funny. I just felt like the dad was a bit inappropriate to be hitting on the woman right in front of his kids, but that was probably a deliberate part of the script, and if I've felt how I'm meant to about the dodgy-ish guy then well done.

From a story point of view, the skeletal structure of your story arc was there, but the edit did distract due to unclear timelines and what I felt were sudden shifts in character behaviour. I also found sound fluctuated a decent amount with some peaks so that was a little distracting.

Also it might just be me, but for a romcom I simply need to see romance. Not just someone trying for romance and failing. It's an absolute deal breaker in my book as to whether the film has succeeded at its genre or not.

You've already apologised for the loony bin/mental health joke in your end credits so I'll leave that one alone. Thanks for the apology.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 1.5/5
Overall: 1/5 (I know this doesn't add up; genre failure overrides everything in my book for overall grades)

Jumbo

Wow. Stunning little animation about a giant monster rising up in Wellington harbour and discovering that they have quite the affection for planes. In fact those planes look quite tasty blowing around in the wind. This also incorporated live action elements but by keeping it focused on the monster and the plane plus his instrument of doom it gave the film clear direction. Sound design was terrific.

Ruby Red

Ruby curtains give the backdrop for a burlesque-ish singer who sings about love; you can't take it if the other person won't give it to you. We then go back in time to a jazzy tavern/pub where our lead actor when asked to dance by his gal advises that whilst she will always be his, he's not the sort to meet the parents. Their flirtatious behaviour is too much for the manager of the establishment though, who doesn't want any bloody babies running around. However that issue does rear its head in short time, but with a bit of wire that issue could be resolved, right? Our lead laments his options; you can't take a child on the road...but it would also mean being a dad. Quite a serious effort from Traces of Nut/EPC, the set design was phenomenal.

It's A Trap

This team really worked with what it had to create a diverse gang of criminals where the leader was up for trial for heinous crimes, with the majority of the story told in a hazy coloured flashback. A particularly detailed script outlined events here and everything was played with a completely straight face despite the bombastic nature of the dialogue. With a colourful cast including a wheelchair tech wizardly conman, wig-wearing 'wife' and sunglasses-clad Mr. Big type I really enjoyed the verbal interplay between the crooks that showed some strong character development. The heist itself was a bit amateurish [being clearly set at the high school] and sound levels were a mixed bag in this film, being particularly low during the first act. Having said that, the brutal yet low budget gunshots and accompanying bloof vfx were highly entertaining moments. Ambitiously detailed this pushed the dirty humour and was one to remember.

The Imaginary Crime

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Well, a good question and one that takes us 7 minutes to examine. My main concern here was that almost every segment of the film was gathered around telling simplistic jokes. The big letdown was the fact that you introduced the characters and gave them backstories, and then threw these personality traits out the window. Would have actually been fun to see them behave the way you described. Your camera op has a good eye, but the script really needed work.

A Job Worth Keeping

This was an extremely confident, technically impressive effort from Kratos of a chainsmoking blue collar worker losing their job through to a lack of attention before an opportunity comes for redemption and they take it fully gripped with both DIY hands.

What I really enjoyed the most about this film was the seriously strong performance of our lead protagonist. He really sold me on the true blue kiwi guy who works hard for his paycheck and enjoys a few durries in his spare time. This was done with commanding screen presence as the actor playing him really knew how to sell the rough around the edges but hard man so well through little physical inflections here and there.

Even the introspective looks on the beach played really well. In the hands of a less experienced team it may have played as unintentional laughs, but for these multiple Gisborne winners it genuinely served as a moment of reflection and realisation that our lead needed to get his life back on track.

The comedy was also right up my alley. Crude to an extent, and by all means I think this team saw that other teams got 'splatter' and their eyes lit up at the idea of including the genre they didn't get, but also having worked in building consents I can honestly say they absolutely nailed the venacular of how tradespeople speak.

I do think this would have gone close to making the grand final, though probably the big question mark/thing that held it back from top 15 was the extremely disturbing ending. Murderous revenge on hitmen as redemption? Questionable to say the least. Like if you google the word redemption you get "the action of saving or being saved from sin, error or evil" and I think the team ran with this whereas the organisers in the genre definition gave a definition that I felt was at odds of what the team went with "Not to be confused with the Revenge movie, redemption is less about getting even and more about finding yourself, forgiveness and/or growing as a person". Do we really see that growth for our lead? Not enough in my book and it does lean more into getting even given that those he kills have shot him in the foot.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the film but the genre intepretation was what held it back, for me.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Sticks & Stones

Some different camera techniques were used by this team which was refreshing to see. Some sort of limbo prevents a mother from reaching her son, and everytime she falls she gets sent back to the darkness to be made a mockery of by another woman who has her beloved boy captive. Again got to state really nice visually and a reasonably straigh edge approach throughout. Good motivation for the character's actions too. I think it was good that we were not hit over the head with exposition in any way shape or form, but the potential of the space travelling stones seemed like they could have been explored a bit more. Having said that, it's a short film and two settings is sufficient.

Y2K

Placeholder review.

Sticks and Stones

Couch Kumaras :( Poor, poor Couch Kumaras :( Please get your film in on time next year! You would actually have been a genuine chance to defend your Wellington title (although a little birdy tells me it was the amazing effects in the final cut we saw which did cause you to be late...) had this been eligible. Also loved the big-headed NBA Jam stle intro, guys. Swords, capes, rangers, warriors, spells, swordfights, protection spells, family vengeance, magical objects. Yep I think you had the required tropes of the genre down pretty pat with this one. Also another majestical soundtrack. Really well acted too. Sigh...

Skuxx Dogs 4 Life

Hold on a second. I'm so embarrassed. I literally missed the impressive spewing in the heat viewing. So sorry. Please bump up your story grade a whole point. Sorry team. Frigging heck :(

Forgiveness

Starting with a shot of a dead dog near a car wheel, then immediately seeing just how cute the doggo was with a longing gaze at a beautiful photo of the lost loved one, it was easy to see how our lead felt hard to let go and face the truth.

Grief can be an exceptionally hard emotion to deal with, and your lead did a nice job of conveying his anguish. It can test relationships with your closest friends and loved ones as people look to blame and hold grudges rather than look at the bright side.

From a technical point of view I thought the subtle filter over the flashbacks was a nice touch of taking us back to the past without wasting time on exposition that we were not in the current timeline.

Whilst a reasonably straightforward story there was some wonderful visual flare on display with really strong editing being your teams forte. I also liked the animations in the forrest which offered a point of difference and elevated it above a generic tale of grief and forgiveness. Classy heartbeat, too.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

The Wellington Job

A bunch of guys have their roles defined very clearly ala Reservoir Dogs for the job that they are about to pull in this film which seems needlessly shot in black and white first of all, but eveything becomes clear as the film progresses. Bit of a double-take film, although our plot development felt underutilised in my book, with far more focus on the 'crime' meaning that the chemistry between the guy and the girl was almost non-existent.

DOUBLE TALK

Lots of shots that made you go damn from a cinematography point of view, as a holidaying couple chilled out in a Bali hotel, only tensions are a bit rife with the woman almost constantly on her phone, rather than just enjoying the beautiful pool for example. The fact that the team were able to show glimpses of relationship issues through simple gestures was impressive in my book, as the main actor conveyed trepidation and annoyance at her use of technology, whilst she displayed a sneaky behind the back cheater impressively well. At the same time it was left up to the viewer's interpretation as to how solid their relationship was when noises were heard in the night; was closing the window a comfort thing? But I liked the open-endedness of it all. As to the ending? Yeah it didn't quite stick, and a little bit cold, but to me it was pieced together well enough. Kind of surprised this isn't in the Wellington final to be honest. Especially given all the sound design and music was original and extremely on point too...

Gonna Get Rich

Well framed story arc of infatuation that neatly showed how young love can easily become a bit over the top through misinterpretation. Cookies, cards and stalking by the dozen. You quiet cleverly had the lead actress borderline breaking the fourth wall, but it meant we saw how singular she was. Thus when friendships had to be examined it actually had some good weighting to it.

Beard I be without you

Having stolen his pie, Bobby Young believes he has a legitimate reason to think his flatmate shaved off his beard...it's not like it could have run away on it's own, right? Well, guess again, and this led to some incredible footage of the beard on the move. Also nice and short for a change, I really liked this film.

The Breath of Death

I found it quite amusing early on in the heats seeing this film and Common Scents from Papaoiea in New Plymouth on successive days both with very similar BIRDBOX/PREDATOR inspired storylines. But funnily enough they were the only 2 to really take that angle in the whole of NZ. Apologies for starting with a comparison to another team, just I personally felt the similarities were eery.

Cinematography was really nice here, and big props for getting outside to capture this hunt for treasure that was guarded by an invisible creature. I have it noted in my review book that the on screen performances were really strong in terms of body language and expression. The script was not particularly detailed, but the focus was on tension, feeling and mood, with sound design also really strong.

I also appreciated that you had a kinetic film with nice steady shots throughout. Great use of heartbeat too, just the big issue was a lack of originality in the story.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Dazza and Bazza: Kiwi Dad Detectives

Genuinely sick local buddy detective film dealing with the aftermath of a suicide. With knowledgeable capital humour and a propensity to really go to dark places this produced a mix of laughs and sighs of disgust from the audience. The titular Dazza and Bazza produced a farcical array of dad jokes whilst investigating grisly crimes, with the bizarre tint kept going through air horn and auto erotic machinations. Double browns rightfully earned their place in the spotlight and whilst the tar black comedy was not everyone's cup of tea I frigging loved this.

My Friend Dave

Rather inventive take on the superhero genre, in that the power of our lead being a touch of death absolutely fit well with the antihero requirement of the comp. Unfortunately for mine despite this clever framework for the film, it also was centered around the overused cliche of a superhero talking on the couch to a therapist. I get that they were coming to terms with their awful power, but unfortunately it has been overused for many years in 48 Hours.

The other thing that jumped out at me was a very strong colour grade. I'm not sure if I'm on board personally, as it felt like the exposure was almost blasted, but it did give the film a memorable look.

In terms of what I liked about the film, I thought that your lead actor gave a sterling performance as the everyman superhero telling the tale for all intensive purposes. The music which is I see is original in the credits by the way was actually outstanding also. Some of the humour was very funny also, particularly the way that the life affirming flatmate 'Dave' met his demise, and giving up on the drowning swimmer bwahahaha.

I know you're working with what you've got, and fair play to you, but even with a clever way of incorporating a superpower I did feel that some of the deaths felt like they could have been given significantly more impact. I get you were going for comedy but if you're all in (eg, comical close ups on deaths) you could have had more impact, I feel.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Requiem for a scream

Placeholder review.

(Time) Travel Centre

Pretty much perfect. Goosebumps on the skin and not a moment of fat to the storytelling. Incredible sound mix, foreboding and gripping unique original vision. Touche.

Impalpable

A mum gets up whilst the dad lies in bed, picks her baby up out of the crib, takes the baby down the hallway and makes herself a cup of coffee and 'wakes up'. I've called out other teams this year but boy oh boy, taking the first 58 seconds to get to that point was just painfully slow. It's just a personal bugbear of mine after many years of watching this comp to see teams wasting time on waking up, getting ready for the day etc.

Things did pick up from there with an adorable bubba then immediately lighting up the frame with a wonderful smile and giggles, offering a strong contrast with the large amounts of dead flowers on the table which gave a pretty obvious foreshadow for the shape of things to come, but was shot beautifully. Did the team need to spend so much time on the initial setup? Maybe. But even if plot essential it doesn't change the pace of the film.

Definitely some strong universal themes covered here. Most of us want a nuclear family to work, as raising a newborn is incredibly tough. The performances were also very good at conveying the weight of exhaustion that the young parents must be feeling. The team also played this very seriously which is rare in 48Hours.

Film looked really nice, and for once shooting in a house made sense. The grade was on point witht the slight blue tint of sadness.

For me this was a good film, not a great one, and the main reason was that there just wasn't enough meat on the bones of the story to elevate it. I might get shade thrown at me here but parenting is tough, and solo parenting is arguably tougher. Also for me the twist was obvious and I want original engaging stories from this comp not just those that are well shot and performed covering home truths.

Having said that, congrats on your win in BOP.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Inspir-irrational

A drought of inspiration across the country results in a new profession being created; that of the travelling salesperson of liquid inspiration. Being Nicky Brick of course they don't exactly hit the jackpot selling door to door, and the liquid nature of the product they are selling means that it is all too easily lost. This film came across as low budget but had its moments for example I could see that the team really tried hard to come up with an original concept, and we got into some solid strange dark territory towards the end when a new batch of inspration was being cooked up/flatmate went psycho. More work on the script and a better camera next year would work wonders.

Poesy

Ok, so Wikipedia justifies that poetry is music. However the website did indicate with regards to this genre that it did want singing, but I can appreciate what you did. If I wasn't clear just now, the team went with poetry and a disclaimer at the start of the film, as well as choreographing the rhythm in the corner throughout the film for a picture in picture effect. Vic Meyer expressed her thoughts and feelings in some lovely poetry throughout the film, which was just her and nobody else. Some beautiful shots, but the same ideas that were established in the first couple of minutes (insomnia, loneliness) kept getting emphasised. The "count to 24" scene brought a lot of unintentional laughter from the audience. Props for being original, but yeah the organisers did say they wanted singing...

Attempted Villain

Nice guys finish...first? Much to the chagrin of our wannabe villain who actually gets off on cruelty and torment, this reverse-FINAL DESTINATION sees pleasantness swerve fate in the right direction at every moment as the girl he intends to be mean to instead only sees him as a sweetheart.

I liked the three act structure of the film, it kept things succint as our lead tried to sabotage an alarm clock, ruin a pizza with pineapple, and destroy a painting intended as a gift. I also appreciated you going for it with musical, with some creative touches such as showing the lyrics onscreen early in the film. Sound in fact was one of the strengths here, with nice clearly discernible audio throughout, and the musical melodies themselves were well done.

For mine, the biggest area that held this back a bit was the edit. The team got a lot of coverage, and presented the viewer with almost every angle in the book that they could think of, but because movement was kept to a minimum, I felt a bit disconnected and taken out of the moment at times when cuts were seemingly made to a different angle for the sake of it. Also whilst some of the camera work was inventive, I noticed several shots slightly out of focus that again took me out of the moment a bit. The final criticism, and I don't mean to harp on, because I liked the subversion with the plot, is that the driver of the lead wanting to be mean could have been developed more. It was clear and obvious and allowed the film to unfold, but why did he want to be mean? I get that you're meeting the character requirement, but there still needs to be a molicule of explanation as to why they behave the way they do, as a lot of people will probably watch this in future without knowing it was a required element.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

"Friends In Life And Death"

Things start of eerily strange in this short as women come to in a car at different intervals and then go about their daily lives at school only to slowly unravel that life is not as they know it anymore.

Several enthusiastic actors in this short, and I liked most of the framing. I think the big thing that I noticed that could have used work was the edit, with a lot of jumpy disjointed cuts that made the film hard to follow both from a plot point of view and in terms of what was happening on screen.

The music choices were nice and was that an original song in the credits if I'm reading correctly? Because it sounded great!

There were certainly some moments that felt awkwardly realistic such as one teacher not chipping in for a present for a new baby, but due to the edit made it hard to connect with the storyline. Like there was definitely some great content and ideas, and the two 'buddies' portrayed going through the same experience nicely, but a clearer script and tighter edit would have helped immensely. Sorry for the low marks, it was just unclear for most of the film what was happening, plot-wise.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1/5

Slaughter High

Basically a piss-take slasher version of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, complete with hilarious deliberately bad dubbing for the burnout, jock and nerd stuck in detention having to write an essay. Got z-grade pretty quickly although the homage to dated one-liners had its moments such as "eat my shorts". The burnout bully was believable however moving to a cold-blooded masked serial killer with a knife so quickly was a bit of a tonal jolt, and the film kind of lost the positive atmosphere it had garnered initially when it went stabby murderous with no clear explanation that I remember.

Trust the Process

Tempo is a key ingredient for a short film, and Dunce Media got this one right from top to bottom with an eye catching jazzily edited portrait of a life modeling session.

Immeditately my curiousity was piqued when the black and white nature of the short was clearly shown to be a strength with a well dressed set and strong vision for contrast. Little touches such as artistic paintings in the background and the hint of a canvas meant the knock knock early on provided a trepidation of excitement for who the model would be coming through the door.

Percussion and wind instruments were used to excellent effect, evoking a sophisticated air of fliration to proceedings in combination with creative camera techniques such as deep focuses on eyes, tightly laced boots, muscular parts of the body, and mouths showing the slightest hint of movement as though inhaling the excitement.

I was genuinely surprised that this was done with royalty-free music because the edit matched to the beats was close to perfect.

Whilst this could have got lost in the crowd of artsy farty jazz films shot without colour, narration was used to excellent effect, a rarity in 48 Hours, as our lead actress drew lyrics in her head of art being her way of communicating with nature. That her life had a lack of meaning without art and love.

Having established a sense of depth to the characters through our artist seeming sophisticated and our model a straightlaced professional who is there for the money from the job first and foremost, I was utterly impressed by how well you hit the mark with your ending. Some may say it was bait and switch with the tone you had, but to me it matched the quirky nature of the short.

In terms of where I would drop slight marks from my arbitrary ratings, whilst the narration was well done, it felt a little bit jumbled at times compared to the visuals we were presented on screen. In particular for example where we had splitscreen or quickfire edits. The music and visuals always matched so well that the third element of narration could have been perhaps toned down a little, but on the other hand it matched the excitement in the room.

I am also slightly unsure if the dramatic urgency was significant enough to elevate the films to contend simply having seen other top quality films. What I mean by this is that we established she was there to draw and then had your visual treat of the life drawing followed by the satisfying conclusion. But was there enough depth to proceedings? Was the story arc strong enough or could it be viewed to be too much of a slice of life? However the fact it was tonally consistent, took some chances and was so good technically were massive pluses in my book so we will see come finals time.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Dehydra: A Nightmare Musical

A girl who badly needs a friend in her life meets a monster, and from there examined the friendship through a pop ballad, hip hop number and jazz sax number. Unfortunately all the songs in the film had issues for mine and the tone was not enough to distract. The pop ballad whilst seemingly well sung was inaudible due to crackling, the hip hop song was hard to discern because whilst delivered with good flow it lacked diction, and then the jazz number seemed like the team were simply ensuring that they hit their predetermined goal of 3 distinctly different songs. Please don't hate me there was some nice style to the film; the hip hop section in particular was colourful, fun and fast-paced. However technically this film was on the backfoot from the getgo with the opening 30 seconds or so being particularly blurry, grainy or not well lit where it probably needed to be to establish the mood.

Glance Forwards

[DQ] I came incredibly close to not putting up a review of this film. I thought I missed something the second time we watched it, but if I did then so did the 6 or 7 other people I talked to who also thought the only noticeable difference was a slight chance of pacing at the start and some added music at the end reminiscent of Vertigo. * If you weren't at the heat the wrong file played; the team were in competition but chose to DQ themselves and hand in a 'better' version for artistic integrity and thus we watched the 'correct' version at the end of the heat. ...onto the film... A young woman on the edge losing her will to live in the present day is contrasted with an old couple who have just received what likes like a standard television set in the 60s (?), but after playing around with the receiver for a bit is shown to be more than its initial appearance. The team went for a slightly meta approach in terms of the convergence of the storylines. Well acted, well shot. I personally think you should have stayed in the competition but appreciate that is entirely up to you.

Truck and Hose

Nicky Brick always knew he wanted to be a fireman, but there's no reason to make a song and dance about it is there? Oh well he does it anyway as does the rest of the cast in this decent take on the genre. Unfortunately having bad luck and cooling off situations where burning flames are at hand don't really go together. The action was decent, and music pretty well composed as well. A couple of technical issues with the video skipping, but on the whole looked pretty good. Sah-weet slow mo on the pumpkin with the axe as well. The training montage felt a little generic but it still worked for developing the plot. I understand not coming to your heat if you're DQ but only one person turning up from a team of this size seemed a bit turn your noses up-ish.

Above The Law

Boy oh boy do I love me some age inappropriate casting in 48 Hours, which Cinnamon Cinemas delivered here with an upbeat investigation into a serial killer.

Perhaps more than age inappropriate casting in things I love in this comp though, is silly disguises to hide the fact! So a suit and moutstache was absolutely my cup of tea for selling the idea of a teenager as a homicide detective. Lol. I'm not throwing you shade by the way, your lead actress gave a really strong performance.

As to the film itself, it was short and sickly sweet in a loop around fashion as a couple of grizzly inventive murders got looked at. The number 8 wire effects for example with the hair dryer death were what this comp is all about, in my book.

If I was to be critical, the film felt very light in terms of actual story and the twist was highly predicatable and could have been sold a lot better to give either dramatic or comedic impact, but it was zany, fast paced and entertaining.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Bobby Alone

Voiceover throughout was a ballsy decision, and whilst a couple of lines of narration fell flat, it mostly worked. With Bobby Young dying, he sets off on a rumour that there is a flower found only in a very remote area which could save him. None of his friends will help so it is up to him to try and find this rarity to heal himself. However the journey gets harder as he goes along, resulting in a Fight Club-like flashback that lists his material possessions and activities important to him. He is not one to give up though. I for the most part really liked this one, it threw a bunch of ideas at the screen and held the audience's attention throughout.

Office Fantasy Challenge

Mockumentary on an Office fantasy challenge involving an elf, barbarian and wizard/magician. A couple of nice jokes but sound was raw and loud, too many talking head shots for my liking and the film was fairly tedious. Probably would have been better if given a proper narrative, and not pigeon-holed into an office setting for the sake of it, at least that it how I felt.

Power Play

Probably the best looking 'shot the screen' film I've ever seen, it also had fantastic music (original?) so a shame it was DQ'd and we didn't get the real final product. Our lead keeps receiving tapes/messages and being told to listen to them, which creates a wave of memories to come flooding back to them about something that happened a long time ago. The ending was a bit abrupt, but the down the rabbit hole vibe - it contained several references to Alice in Wonderland - was intriguing. Seriously done and well acted, I enjoyed it.

Bushwhacked

I think this might have had the best sound design out of any film in the Wellington heats, which was absolutely crucial as the team went small scale in terms of a tramperr going through horrific injury after horrific injury, and benefitted massively from the soundscape amplifying what it needed to.

Also, big props for taking on Ultra because a whole lot of teams chickened out this year. The headlamp was a really nice touch to cover this requirement, but also made perfect sense from a plot point of view. Minimal lighting, minimal sense of direction = setting the scene. Despite shooting in the dark everything was clearly shot with tight framing providing a tension to proceedings that allowed the laughs to hit hard given it meant you had the audience's attention focused and in the palm of your hand.

Really well done physical performance by your lead actor as well. He sold the frustration and agony very effectively. The gore FX were low budget but believable also.

All in all this was really well done, and I can only imagine didn't quite make the shortlist due to not having quite enough weight in terms of plot or character development. We were just thrown into things a little bit and a touch of adding who he was as a person rather than arguably simply a body for the splatstick would have potentially elevated this further.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

S I S

Oh gawd I forgot the animated lips! Took it to the next level for strangeness in a good way!

FRAGILE

Loneliess and envy of couples well conveyed here by a strong lead performance, who through a eureka moment sculpted his own destiny in more ways than one, played for slapstick laughs throughout. I enjoyed the positive atmosphere in this film and quirky ideas. Some dim lighting was a bit of a block, so to speak but the ice queen was some number 8 wire magnificent ingenuity.

2 GUYS 1 SLUT

The whole she doesn't know I exist/have to somehow overcome her rivals teen film. Given the title not exactly Pretty in Pink, but a much different vibe compared to what I expected also. Quite charming, even. Our polyamorous female lead enjoys the company of boys quite a bit, although there are several interested parties at the library. A jock, a smooth operator who takes her out to dinner, and the underdog that gets the audience on their side pretty quickly by taking an impressive tumble out of a tree. The montage of competition was handled well and the script was solid with good comedic timing on the whole.

Little Phrases

The thing with shows such as DEXTER or films such as MR. BROOKS, and why they work so effectively, is that the secret identity psycho killer aspect is done with moral justification. When secret identity psycho killer storylines turn up in 48 Hours well, because they have been done many many many times before, I personally think that there has to be some damn good reason for that plotline.
It's been done many times in a comedic fashion before so it being based on a misinterpration of therapy advice here kind of left me cold despite being a really technically impressive film with decent performances.

Is the moral message to cut bad people out of your life enough to carry the film? Not in my book. Maybe, just maybe it could have worked with the murder being a metaphor and playing on the advice with a subversive take. But instead I wasn't really sure what you were trying to say. The dramatic question of people causing him therapy and what's he going to do about it....being answered with murder? Hard pass from me sorry.

Now whilst technically strong overall, there were a handful of shots slightly out of focus which was frustrating because some of your wide shots were genuinely superb, among the best in Wellington especially when you utilised proper lighting. Though the shots lying in bed conversely were very grainy. Audio also had some very very minor hiss at times.

I'm not trying to rag on you too hard, like I said it was the script that was the issue here, and technically a lot to applaud, but this just wasn't my cup of tea.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 1/5
Overall: 1/5

Bad Day

Placeholder review.

Knights And Knaves

I'm really sorry team but 27 seconds of a woman standing at the bottom of a grassy incline as the camera tracks around her before drums kick in and we see her opponent is just way too long to get going for your opening shot/s.

Also one more immediate nitpick is why did you shoot in 60fps? I'm assuming it was to give the film more of a video game feel, but the organisers are not just being pedantic when asking for file delivery at 25fps because this (or 24fps mostly) has been the cinematic standard for about 100 years. I play games too and know the advantages of high frame rates, but I was just surprised by this decision.

I do give you props for shooting outside and the outfits were nicely done. The film looked really bright and framing was decent, though match cuts in the edit were a tad jumpy and some camerawork slightly shaky or out of focus.

As to the film itself, this played more as both a race against time film and possession film than an actual superhero film! With 5 minutes to try and escape from being trapped inside the mind of a supervillain. Sinister but predictable finale I just wish that there was more depth to the story.

Audio was nice and clean, good work going for ADR here.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Distressed

Contemplating suicide, our lead has brief interactions with those who have mattered to him most in the past ala It's A Wonderful Life. Played seriously, this wasn't really an immobilisation film.

Parasite

Whilst the title of the film gave hints, I was actually a bit surprised by where this ended up going. An eery vibe builds from the beginning when a deadpan new flatmate moves in who is a bit too similar to the existing girl. One thing I would recommend is trying to get a bit more visual variety in future

Last Tindango

On the way to your wedding surely there is time to slip off for one last exotic dance, right? Especially if it is a passionate tango atop Wellington hills, or on the pier as waves crash nearby and metaphorically reflect your lust for dancing. The soundtrack here was utilized to aplomb with heavy string instruments playing perfectly as the 2 bodies swirled and stepped in rhythm. Really nice looking black and white with just a hint of colour, whoever was in control of tracking the movement had an incredibly steady hand and keen eye for tight v-formation framing. I respect going for the no-dialogue approach completely and artistically it was so strong that it worked. I think that this just required a dramatic story beat or 2 to elevate it further.

Doom Comes to Mars-Town

Honestly, I didn't even realise this was probably shot in a LASER STRIKE building until I saw the logo when your credits rolled. I thought you did a superb job making your set believable as a Mars 'missing link' base for marines to fight off aliens, monsters and demons, DOOM-style.

Answering the distress signal call from a Doctor who has been stationed for 2 years doing research, the ALIENS like crew were stoic and likeable with some enjoyable teleportation humour. I appreciated the classic Mad Scientists blood soaked shootout making a reappearance. Awesome monster costume near the end as well. Overall a hoot and had me grinning from ear to ear. Technically a bit rough around the edges but I have no complaints.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Great Mysteries of Natural History

Previous best worst "winners" Confusers are at it again with a mockumentary (no talking heads - hurray!) about the newly discovered Placeholdersaurus, delightfully narrated by someone giving their best Richard Attenborough impersonation. Now this might have been an entertaining short in another team without an incredibly strange bent, but in the hands of bizarro masters Confusers we got paper mache Dinosaur head weird all for the glorious better. Who is really at the top of the food chain - humans, dinosaurs or felines? I guess it doesn't matter when you have a green screen and not just one but two paper mache Dinosaur heads. Got some seriously huge laughs at the heat but could have cut down by perhaps 1 or 2 jokes for pacing.

Battle Roulette

Domestics lead into some very dangerous online gambling, because rather than sell the family house or abandon his wife and daughter, our lead decides to partake in a life/death shoot out. I'd probably need to watch this again to make my mind up on your stylistic choices, but by and large I think they worked because it differentiated the gambling from the real world.

Wool You Love Me?

Even the most outwardly confident use online dating as explored by this film, which depicted a swag skux in the high school hallway struggling for friends and turning to Mashley Addison to find the woman of this dreams. Put through the ringer to see if he matches the criteria of one of his likes, Baaadgirl69 presents a series of challenges that have the audience wondering catfish. I felt this was a solid simple story with a couple of pieces of comedy gold however production values could have used some improvements. I appreciate the time constraints but stronger contrast, use of lighting and potentially even a grade are elements that will make your film pop in future and I would recommend this as the look of the film was flat. The camera work was also fun at times but slightly jarring at others.

Transformation

Placeholder review.

Cadavre Exquis

A French girl keeps having things from her past mysteriously left at her doorstep including an old toy bunny rabbit and banana + jam sandwiches. Days pass until it is revealed who has been leaving things, before an abruptly shocking ending (which I unfortunately found to be a bit of a throwaway) The piano music fit the genre well.

The Pizza Heist

When a flatmate has the munchies and has spied an uncollected pizza delivery across the road at their neighbour's doorstep, a bombastic plan is concocted to yoink the cheesy delicacy. Well, 'borrow', like the cat they took and never returned. Quite a funny indictment of people as a whole because there are a lot of opportunistic dickheads in society, but this was thoroughly entertaining.

With an expert in computer science ex (with a self-aware joke about how she could have brought food, but that would have spoiled the plot) on board and ramshackle inventive costumes thrown together, the over the top planning was probably the highlight of the film.

The heist itself was a little bit bonkers, with unnecessary crawling across the grass, strange cardboard masks, NZ-centric codenames, a random ninja and a 4th wall break. All with the possibility that the neighbour could of course turn up at any moment. Very silly but fun.

From a technical point of view I noted some minor levels of hiss on the audio soundtrack particularly for footage shot inside that was a bit distracting, and whilst I appreciate that the planning was OTT and in fact a highlight, I couldn't help but feel that more time could have been spent on the heist itself because with the large allocation of time to the setup I found the edit a bit jumpy once we got going in the action.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Love, Pain and Chow Mein

A Baywatch-loving Chinese exchange student in New Zealand uses his Kiwi friend/former penpal to try and win the girl of his dreams/obsessions. Energetic lead performance conveying the confidence we'd expect from the underdog in a romcom, creating a strong setup for the "anti" part here. The audience definitely liked this one however I'd just be careful about using things that are probably not ok copyright-wise (karaoke videos in the background and the song from F.R.I.E.N.D.S even in another language probably not ok)

The Performer

A very reluctant clown struggles with self-doubt but knows that people paid to come see him and so he needs to show them something different. Funny jokes? Not quite, more like some beautiful singing and letting it all out as though nobody is watching.

Really strong performance by the lead actor selling the nerves and then producing a soaring musical performance. The little VFX at the end witht the invisible man were also a nice touch and reframed the film a bit.

But I had issues with the film. Firstly it just felt really theatrical rather than cinematic, in particular the camerawork being practically all static; not necessarily a bad thing but the empty chairs kind of metaphorically represented my position as a viewer. I got it, he had self-doubt but overcome it and nailed his performance. What a voice. But I was being sung at and struggled to relate to anything he was singing about after getting the message early on in the song. I also felt barely any engagement to see a singular actor with no tangible backstory or interactions with other characters come on stage and sing.

The pacing was in my book very slow. I'm not suggesting you should have made an action film by any means but I'm watching this again and see you used practically the whole 5 minutes when I felt that at least 60-90 seconds of the run time could have been reduced to give us exactly the same slice of life story.

I know I'm being harsh, well done on making the Christchurch shortlist but my points above are why this was not my personal cup of tea.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2/5

Return

Beautifully animated film as a couple of Maori fought a taniwha, followed by a hangi with a cut to Sky City. It's pretty rare that I miss the message in 48Hours but I'm genuinely a bit baffled how it fit into sci-fi. Edit: right, it was post-apocalyptic. I missed that as thought time had passed before we panned to Sky City. My bad. I'm not going to bump any more stars up though. Needed more meat to the story.

The Sleeping Plot

Knocked it out of the park; finals for sure, maybe nationals. Parents try to comfort their young girl about an unfortunate event, whilst she at the same time develops a plan to make $37 after a visit to the local gardening store. Great production values, excellent script and a superb performance by the lead actress. I loved that you basically showed the whole thing from the child's POV with the adults lower halves being shown when we were watching through her eyes. Darkly comic, children with ice creams and swear jars will never be the same again.

Lush Leaves

Here's a tip from doing 48 Hours for quite a number of years; don't waste the first 45-60 seconds of your film showing someone waking up out of bed etc as its precious time that can be used on jumping into your story and engaging the audience. The film itself was ok, as a girl deals with the horror of no 'Mermite' in the kitchen pantry by scouring around the house with a chair held over her head Benny Hill style, and then ending up in a fantasy world reached through leaves where they are promised this condiment by a mysterious mystical girl. I noted good use of sound effects throughout such as rustling leaves and running water for the river, as well as being drawn into the world of the film. The fact it had me thinking of more questions re: the fantasy world was probably a good thing.

KILL THE CHILD

This played in Heat 19. So this just happened. A demonic scatterbrained bloodfilled homage to Trash Humpers, or at least it wanted to be. The ritualistic cultists appear to bathe in blood with an intention to lure in their childhood neighbours on the promise of giving them lolly money. Trust me that's just my own interpretation of the images and sounds I just watched. I think the team might be quietly laughing that someone actually tried to make any sense of it. Some of the action had a Texas Chain Saw Masacre feel to it, but by and large it was an experience rather than a film. Shame I can't give a no rating option as I'm torn between giving it the lowest and highest possible rating. I'll give it high because its a DQ film and don't see that harming anyone.

The How, The What, The Who and The Why

A couple of "little shits" in the words of their mum conspire to steal chocolate protein bars from under mum's nose whilst she deals with a plumbing issue. Hoo boy as a dad with 2 and 3 year olds this felt scarily close to home in a been there, done that kind of way. Very relatable. I liked the pulsating start to the film as the energetic siblings were framed well for the upcoming heist, reflective of how moods can genuinely change for little children with the click of fingers or the loss of a chocolate treat. I also found the use of the shadow/silhouette for the plans well-executed and met the element requirement well. Kids held their own on screen well and sound was pretty good. The couple of things that I wasn't completely sold on was the pacing of the film. The chapter titles were unusual for a short film but unnecessary in my book, I felt the second one in particular kind of cut into the action just as I was getting fully engaged with the action unfolding. I also appreciate how grounded the film was in reality. Like, really, this was close to home, but I think that some interesting locations or even just more interesting backdrops given it was shot in a house could have given the film more of an impact.

Clutha Matters

Head scratcher mockumentary about a madhatter wanting to recruit students for his theatre troupe in the school holidays inspired by...Full House and Willy Wonka?? whilst seemingly shot on a very old vhs camcorder despite everyone in the film tapping away on modern smartphones. Tonally this was all over the place from the casio keyboard flavoured theme song that jumped out throughout, to self descriptors to the camera, to the actual filming of the show/interviews. I think this was a bit of a square peg in a round hole regarding the genre, as simply mentioning it was the holidays didn't really tick the requirement for me. I also think that if you were going with this old camcorder approach there simply had to be more justification for its use, as it didn't make sense and became a throwaway at the end. Your lead definitely hammed it up and this could have gone somewhere if there was a bit of motivation for the hiring of the actors. Ending definitely out of left-field but yet again had me puzzled rather than surprised in a good way.

Maybe the Last Time

12 June 2013 REVIEW EDITED AFTER SECOND VIEWING AT WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL (Fact I didn't 'get it' the first time I think points to the fact your film was unclear): A high school reunion hookup aftermath film with a Tangerine-dream like score, mainly set in a parked car by the beach. A realistic portrayal of regret and hope, as two would be-lovers try quickly to make up for a lot of lost time. Coming in on the action after the drunken party and only letting the soundtrack try and convey emotion for any real conclusion felt flawed in my book. Reflecting now the film had a welcome change of pace right into the action, but I almost feel like Act 3 was missing, but then I'm assuming that you were going for a fly on the wall theatrical-type piece and letting the audience make their own conclusions. I think I "got it" this second time, but being held together by a soundtrack is always a dangerous thread to be hanging on. 16 June edit - drunk emotional irrelevant sections of the review removed.

Gaelien

I do love a good SIMPSONS reference, and a giant asteroid hurtling towards earth only to end up being a tiny rock was a great start to this film, as three gal pals who have passionate opinions about pavlova get more than they bargained for as an alien object grants alien powers, like invisibility!

Really nice ensemble performance by the women in this film, and your invisibility effect was really really well done!

Sinister finale, although loved the natural main ending to the film which presented the classic trope of love conquers all so so well.

Technically one thing I'd recommend for improving would be a minor framing thing, which is trying not to shoot dialogue from behind actors which happened a couple of times. It can work as reactive dialogue but here seemed to be by accident. And just on audio if any lines do come through as quiet from your field sound it's all good to use ADR to dub in louder vocals.

I did really appreciate you going outside for your shoot though and making use of the lovely botanic gardens.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Disinterment

Awesome location as we watched a couple of goons prep to bury a body in a quarry, before the film chameleoned its way into the race against time genre.

I loved the golden imagery of the dirt and gravel that was so well contrast against the blue sky and outfits of your characters by your DOP, well done there. Editing was also smooth in general in terms of shot transitions. Soundtrack was memorable with deep throbbing bass although it did get a bit repetitive by the end of the film. Fight scene was well done with good sound.

My main two issues were as follows. Firstly, the change of heart was quite sudden and unexpected, and whilst for the greater good, the decision to keep that character mute (just making them silent is a big stretch for the 'confidant' in my opinion) meant motivations were a bit confusing and unclear.

Second was the ending. I appreciate you were going for an ask questions type later sort of character, but it made the conclusion a bit dark and arguably left me numb as a viewer. There have been a few films with similar sorts of plotlines over the years to this such as HARDCORE, THE HORSEMAN, and COLD IN JULY; searching for a missing girl, often with morally dubious protagonists. I felt like you were drawing inspiration from at least one of these, but leaving the ending of the film open ended just had me asking more questions than feeling satisfied. Not so much about what was going to happen, but why the protagonists in the film had acted the way they did.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 1.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Fathers love toast

Placeholder review.

Two Tall Tales

Hooray! The first Wellington Bigfoot/Sasquatch entry this year and luckily it was a real goody. A couple of DOC workers are queried as to how their daily activities had gone with regards to snail sampling and cataloguing; only thing is, we are presented with a couple of completely different stories. This had a witty script and excellent performances. Knowing how limited the light was on the Saturday of the shoot weekend in Wellington I was impressed by the coverage acquired in some deep forest areas. I honestly thought a lot more teams would take on this popular urban legend so it put a big grin on my face to see some big hairy man action as it is one of my personal favourite sub-genres.

Girl, Disembodied

Demented entry hahaha. But yeah after being abducted and having her brain sawn out my a mad scientist who has a plot to build an octopus made entirely out of brains...you heard right, a little girl's brain takes control of whoever has it in a quest to get back into the little girl's body. Creepy McCreepson strangeness abound, with people spazzing out and having acid thrown on their face. Had a grindhouse vibe that I dug, the 'scissor cut' scene was outrageous and the head explosions were fantastic. Wicked.

Fang, Bat, Stake

A couple of ghoulish salesmen discuss just how important it is to be invited in by prospective clients. Once you have that offer, you rule the game. From here, the less succesful of the two tries many times to make his way into a woman's house with a variety of products leading to a darkly comic payoff.

I liked the attempt at world building, breaking the rules for vampires with sunlight not an issue and their own little varation on paper/scissors/rock (the titular game) giving them some character. Also despite being small scale with one house/doorway used for the vast majority of the film, this had some great cinematic moments with fantastic use of closeups and on-point editing.

I think your unsuccessful salesman did a fantastic job, and the other being more successful simply based on a big personality and a smile hit very close to home as to how things sadly often go in the real world.

Just from an actual story point of view, this did feel like quite familiar, though the subversive elements helped it immensely.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Fist Cop

[DQ] and verrry sadly DQ at that, as this was the best out of competition short so far. I was promised an ambitious short, and it really delivered on that expectation. This had such an 80s vhs neon vibe that it was incredible. It was like the punk buddy cop version of Robocop, with our 4.2% cyborg feeling a strong sense of justice against the Mr. Big type character who made him the way he is. Not just vengeance though, but to protect the valuable quantum that scientists have been working on. Over the top and full of action and dodgy special effects [floating buddy robot, anyone?] and one liners, I loved it. Only minor gripe was the use of the same pun a few times but not an issue at all.

The Pick Up

It makes it hard to review when you're seeing an idea for the umpteenth time in a 48 hours year, having thought the previous teams were original, and yet the later entries may be the best of the bunch in terms of using that concept. This was the case here, with mistaken identity and criminals involved. Almost a double reunion film, it set out charmingly and quickly developed. Some nice visual touches, it was short and to the point.

Better Dance Good

A French game show hosts auditions new contestants for their chance to become the next champion of Dance. There were some seriously excellent moves on display with again a good structure to the proceedings. Krump, latin/tango and freestyle were all covered well. I made a note that this had some absolutely excellent use of slow-mo through the human body flop/flop back up dance move that our Nicky Brick could provide with aplomb.

Kids These Days

Oooh errr my this was nicely shot. Simple, easy to follow story that opened itself up for several jokes and developments, including an excellent final confrontation when the body hammering away in the boot has made one annoying bump too many. The story revolves around the idea of a couple of crooks; one new, the other a grizzled old-timer, and their need to cover up their tracks. Hence a car is driven out to the middle of nowhere whilst they hatch a plan as to what to do with the child witness they have shoved in the trunk. I'm not going to give anything away as this will probably be in the Wellington final. Solid performances, technically good (I could hear every single line of dialogue crystal clear, for one) and entertaining fare with a surprising amount of blood. Thanks.

Urine Trouble!

Ok, first of all, unless something else as absolutely what the fuck bugnuts and bonkers comes along in this year's competition, this will be the only film I don't give out my arbitrary grades to. The Incredibly Strange award for 2021 is yours if it is a thing this year. Because this is just a next level fuck the establishment do what they want sort of effort that simply needs to be experienced and to give it a rating would be more like comparing dildos and oranges than films.

With that out of the way, I loved your film. Holy moly did I love it with every bone in my body.

After some sort of story framing device set in 2007, the future, where bitches need to repent their sins to a blowup doll, a sponsored message allows the true film to begin. This being of course a rapping killer robot who wants to take drugs to feel a buzz whilst they fill your ass with lead. Or something like that. Like much, much, much, much more than that.

Be thankful AJ that they put your photos in a satanic ritual pentagram. Genuinely, what an honour!

Credits were off the hook. DMX in the house!

Ghostfish: Catfished By A Ghost

Slick as climbing glass.

Unravelled

Placeholder review.

Leave Me Alone

The SPCA, Bartending and Busking amongst other jobs have all failed for our lead, who just also happens to be a conjoined twin. Their bro has been the scourge of all their problems for quite some time particularly with women and employment, but that is nothing compared to the leaf monster they create when an experiment goes badly wrong. The two guys sharing one outfit for the twin effect really played off on one another well. Not a scary film by any sense of the imagination but more an ode to cheesy 50s/60s bad monster flicks which in my book is not a bad thing at all - Sting of Death and The Thing With Two Heads immediately came to mind.

Don't Clique

A campaign to stop bulllying that misfires in the worst possible way produced a pretty remarkable tale of pathos via Sergei Eisenstein and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Questions of how to stop persecution based on difference were raised but the reality of society and the system was brought to the forefront in a shuddering jolt. A towering showing by the lead actress I noted this taking a bit too long to get going and the sound being a bit flat, although it was clean. Kind of hate the rating system sometimes as genuinely can't decide between a 5 and a 6 out of 7. Consider my rating unofficially a 5.5

The Gloved Hand of Silent Justice

Have you ever had enough of people who slightly irritate you? Those who talk too loud, play obnoxious instruments, park badly or just get under your skin? Well the woman in this short film certainly did, locking up all the annoying varmints in a mimed central park jail in Palmerston North.

Subversive? To an extent, however this is a difficult film for me to review, because clearly a lot of people liked it based on the first place in audience voting so well done on that because the light hearted humanistic tone of the everyday woman taking action was relatable. But it went with a couple of ideas that are so tricky to pull off in short films that you need to do them perfectly to get them right, mime and narration.

Firstly, the miming. What worked for me was the costuming and physical performance of your actress. This is not a criticism of her, or a criticism of your choices to go with a mime. It can work, but I personally feel that to work on film it needs to be intimate. If you're watching a mime street perfomer there is a degree of closeness with the very deliberate moments.
So on film for that to translate to the screen we either need to see that closeness, or that exaggeration, as well as potentially sound (which admittedly was done well here) to sell the effect if you're crossing into the metpahysical realm, where mime jails for example hold prisoners. If the mime activity is sold with long shots then there is a distance that just makes it come across as flat in my opinion.

Secondly the narration. This is such a common trope in 48 Hours now, and honestly I think I have come across more of it in 2021 than any single year by a mile, that I need something clear as to why it is being used. Not just to explain a character's motivations, but to stand out from the pack.

I've got no qualms about the genre element. In fact it being open whether this was an origin story or someone putting the costume back on worked in its favour. The idea was good that they were seeking justice, and the everyday crimes they were taking action against was very relatable.

My last nitpick was a couple of audio pops early, but technically pretty good as always from Outcasts otherwise.

Obviously I may be coming across as a bugbear over a couple of issues that may have only been issues for me. I apologise for the negativity I am just being honest.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

1AM

This was a pretty simplistic idea of the blood of victims apparently being the cure for insomnia, as a character relays the ancient Amarian ritual regarding this to other cast members. Of course with with Mr Meyer being on the brink of losing his mind due to not getting 40 winks, all signs lead to death. I felt you could have really fleshed this out having given the explanation at the beginning. The cyclical nature of the short was decent but a murderous killing spree really needs something more to differentiate it from the others.

Dub Tee Eff

Are kids these days really too lazy to not even say a full W for this acronym? I guess they apparently are. Be that as it may, this was some entertaining young queer cinema that sent a positive message about coming out/being accepted. Realistic that the girlfriend was taken back by her boyfriend understanding and embracing this, there were some good physical humour jokes and the effort of actually jumping into the Wellington waterfront on the weekend means I'm giving the team a higher rating than I would otherwise. It was a little talk-heavy and the editing could have done with a bit of work, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Binary Love

With Y2K fast approaching, love comes in the most unlikely of places, a party in 1999 where our lead falls for Sally...a laptop. Slow motion puddle in this was fantastic and the actor was so good it was a borderline genuine romcom for mine. But then the premise is so ridiculous that is certainly fits outside the box as required. Solidly framed throughout with just minor lighting blemishes and a couple of bad misses on the 50/50 line. I was there on the waterfront when the millenium came around and this honestly captured the mood extremely well, right down to the laptop and (separate) keyboard actually being from the era. Loved the understanding grandmother and some high quality shots of Wellington. Wouldn't be surprised if this makes the shortlist.

Henry's 21st

Most artistic film ever made in Wellington? Yes I'm going to call it. Most artistic film ever made in the comp? Possibly, it's right up there with Brothers by ADHDMI that's for sure. The family who put on the vhs that they thought was a family birthday sure get the shock of their lives when it turns out to be a 4 part stimulating sensory overload video by the Institute of Applied Psychoanalytics. Audio, visual, reflex and dissociation were the stages to experience, and boy oh boy were they experiences all right. From waves crashing to the serene forest, fingers scraped and squeezed along metal and through bananas, this was an absolute delight. I haven't even talked about the colour palette that simply blew me away as bright yellows, purples and blue hues filled the screen cleanly yet effectively. Our instructor also put in one hell of a performance. We have a contender. Anyone for cake?

The Painter

Like the best horror films, creates its own lore with a sinister Painter comparable in many ways to Fulci's book of Eibon in THE BEYOND (but could not be more different than that masterpiece by Italy's Godfather of Gore). Seemingly simplistic vfx but really not given made over a single weekend those eyes will haunt me whenever I look back at the film. Possession? Haunting? Curse? Hard to say but a bloody fun time - pun intended as Nova Waretini-Hewison gives another star turn aided by a Linda Blair-like demonic voice. Shocking stabbings, a shrillseeking fantastic music score and the catchiest little song you will hear this year round off this little outside the box beauty. "A L I V E - so good to be!"

Attendance Mandatory

Like I know BLACK MIRROR is popular, but the opening minute or so of this felt so similar to that show combined with a lo-fi version of 2018 national winner Peptok that I almost fell out of my chair, as our lead kept getting messages in their head through some implanted A.I. type device. However luckily the team turned it around by playing to their genre with the stakes raised as an important invitation comes through.

Then another invite comes through. And another etc, until a 1984-type pressure develops and our protagonist is left with a moral dilemma of safety for the community or individual freedom.

I liked the light moments in the script here. The invisible fireworks for example was particularly well done comedy, and the acting performances were strong in terms of screen presence.

Sound was clean which was very important for a film driven by its aural centrepiece. However despite the overall storyline being a solid foundation, I just felt a bit of a disconnect between our protagonists' issues and how it was being visualised on screen. I get that's one way you can go about black comedy but I literally felt distant by the end with the long tracking shots just not giving us dramatic or comedic impact as the film moved towards its finale. Contrasting one with the other for mine doesn't automatically create a balance.

So yes honestly a little frustrating for me because technically lots to like, especially that you got such clean footage with a lot of the film shot outside, and you had really good actors. I just felt that where it fell down a bit was needing more cinematic moments (close ups, in particular) to sell your big moments.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

I Still Dream In Colour

Some nice camera work as an outcast tries to prevent having to take 'The Leaf'; a drug which has turned most of society into mindless slaves who work for the greater good powers that be. However the drug has not worked up to this point hence our heroine being on the run when the film opens up. The world the film creates seems quite desolate and unforgiving, definitely not one I'd want to live in. Whilst the camera angles were great I just felt like it needed a bit more action in my book. What I mean by that is that I didn't exactly come out of it feeling like I had watched an action film, more a feeling I had watched something with sequences of action within it.

A Funky Little Place in Time

Waking up in a strange place and wanting to go home, our lead was taken down a rabbit hole by a stranger through invisible doors.

Basically an amalgam of some very famous fantasy films (LABYRINTH, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and WIZARD OF OZ), taking miniscule but important cues from each one. I didn't get the ending to be honest but in a strange mystical setting that's ok.

Your 2 lead actresses had good screen presence, costumes were good and I liked that you got out on location. Sound was ok too and when you shot via close ups or medium close ups the film looked fantastic. I think when utilising wider scopes though the film needed something happening because of it being so dialogue driven, as it presented as people standing around talking for the most part.

When people are saying to tell the story clearer, they don't just mean to ask a dramatic question and then move to resolution. Because here our protagonist wanted to go home and that got subverted. What they're meaning is that we want to know why the plot is unfolding like it is, and what the stakes are, with beginning middle and end being key. Coming into a scene late and leaving early like you did is actually a great, advanced technique, but the bones of the script within needs to be a bit clearer when you only have 5 minutes to tell your tale.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Heartless

I really like seeing teams shoot in scope in this competition. It is often a more naturally cinematic approach to film-making, and with a nice opening tracking shot across a desk full of crumpled paper about ancient relics this team set the scene well. Having recently lost her brother and not accepting his fate, her attempt to resurrect him then provided the plot device for the film.

Her quest to find the heart made this more of a RAIDERS OF THE LOST HEART in my book, with the mysterious heart box drawing clear inspiration from the ark in the Spielberg film.

There were a couple of nice moments of costume design, but I was overall left scratching my head at the muddied plot on display here. Overall it made sense; issue, goal, conclusion. But the steps along the way were very confusing for me. A car boot. The death of the relic expert. The funeral card. The gas mask. I just struggled to understand what was happening throughout. I'm not going to go into great detail about technical things I noticed but whilst some framing was nice, lighting had issues as did sound.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1.5/5

V-Log of a Madwoman

A reasonably lusty scientist conducts a number of experiments in order to create the ideal specimen for attending to her needs ala Rocky from Rocky Horror. However none quite seem to make the grade. The team really crammed the screen with about as much visual information as it was going to be able to take at once; test tubes on a table, pictures of beautiful celebrity men on the back wall, and a bed hooked up for new male specimens to be created through on the side. Quite a manic film to be honest. Cue the squirrel fast forward to give it a bit of variety worked well at first, but got a little old by the third time the technique was used. Oh and they slipped some penis on screen. Just saying.

Hide and Seek

Age-inappropriate casting as a mother gets put under extreme duress from a kidnapping threat following a picnic trip to a war dugout with the young gang. It seems like there was a good deal of activity thrown into the film to try and keep it interesting, but I felt you over-thought the plot a bit too much and in the end this resulted in a predictable film. Don't get me wrong, swearing can be great for punch lines (I'm a huuuuge fan of SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT) but this film showed an over-reliance on the cursing and fell flat after the fifth or sixth eff this/eff that discussion. Unfortunately my suspension of disbelief was ruined by said age inappropriate casting and it felt more like a weirdly two toned thriller than a mystery given the obvious comedic payoff.

Finding Rose

I got quite a Highlander 2 meets The Matrix vibe with this one with the whole bad cloaked dude coming in and spouting prophecy + love interest being used as torture bait. What I'd recommend to this team more than anything would be to make sure they use better lighting going forward. A little grain and shadow here and there is obviously ok, but it felt like enough detail wasn't paid to these areas in a couple of key scenes.

Womb Raider

This soundtrack is the stuff dreams are made of, elevating a marvelously animated film about a baby in the womb from strange to transcendent, in my opinion. It felt a lot like the work of Angelo Badalementi on TWIN PEAKS with shimmering sonics and hazy synths that drew perfect parallels with the warm oozy surrounds the film was set in. Seriously well done Gabriel Lazaro, absolutely in my top 2 or 3 soundtracks in the whole comp this year!

As to the film itself, this was a beautifully textured sweet film with magnificent sound design, representative of the safety and comfort that the insides present generally for a growing baby, yet subverting viewer expectations with electric pulses and a generally tense tone.

Technically sensational all around, and very impressive to have animated this in a 48 Hours weekend. I think that a little more meat to the story would have elevated this further, such as the bubba trying harder to stay, or there being more of a felt threat of repercussions for not leaving as per the genre. But having said that I don't think the visuals in this film will ever leave me.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Rein Ici.

Black and white narrated crime film starring an ex-homicide P.I. is typically actually a recipe for absolute disaster in 48 Hours. The reason being is that you kind of need to produce something absolutely extraordinary to stand above other teams who make film noirs along this line each and every year without fail. So how did Rein Ici do? Not quite a spectacular failure due to them understanding the tropes of the genre so well, but this was quite a generic murder investigation I have to say.

Firstly, the elephant in the room of going black and white...why? I'm genuinely not trying to be mean here but if you did that because you think you needed to I suggest taking a look at how neo noir films gave the genre a modern take (POINT BLANK, DIRTY HARRY, CHINATOWN for starters) decades ago. If you've going to strip your film of colour and follow a noir blueprint this closely then for me that contrast needs to be way up, those shadows need to be mysterious and saturation from the absence of colour needs to go way up as well. The costuming worked I must admit, but it felt like you clicked the footage into black and white in your editing software and called it a day.

The investigation did go down an interesting rabbit hole, and the characters performed their lines well. Also whilst visually I had major issues I must admit the edit was strong, and camera angles themselves at times really stood out plus the sound and soundtrack was very well done. I just wish that the film hadn't been so generic.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1.5/5

The Essence

An agent is sent to another dimension because the earth is running out of vital essence, and off she goes to an ALICE IN WONDERLAND type setting where the comfortably nuts tea partiers are able to open her eyes to the colourful world of imagination.

The film also used the WIZARD OF OZ trope of starting in black and white, to represent the dying earth, before blasting into rainbow colouration when the agent was transported.

I think that this film verged a little bit from homage to probably taking a bit too much from Lewis Carroll for most of the time in wonderland, although things were redeemed a bit when you notched up the surreal and bizarre tone with the pig masks and jazz party.

I get that your actress was playing a very direct stand and deliver type agent and that the whole idea was to change her persona, open her eyes persay. The problem was by taking this approach it verged on making the line delivery feel quite flat. Due to not knowing the agent's backstory and going with the sunglass option it also made them a two dimensional character, taking away the opportunity for the audience to understand them through their face as the eyes are the window to the soul.

Sound I felt was probably the biggest letdown in terms of technical elements, as the indoor footage sounded echoey to me. The script also in my opinion felt like the essence being missing from the earth was just a springboard to then make things as dreamlike and fantastical as possible when your agent entered the world with colour. But personally whilst I love surreal and weird I need to have something engaging from a plot point of view and struggled to find it here.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1.5/5

break a leg

Holy-one shot baby! Incredibly well done backstage piece as a troupe of actors got ready for their play to begin, we swirled through curtains and dressing rooms, past affairs and meltdowns all the while somehow being able to let a few of the characters actually develop depth and personality, all with the most steadihanded camera I can remember for a one-take film (though I think I saw a cheeky edit). The lead actress, tree number 4 and the would be vampiress all had memorable moments. Impressive stuff, and I think this is a shoe-in for a cinematography nomination at least. Close to a 7/7. Might be on repeat viewings. Sometimes I hate star ratings but what I did not hate was this film. Probable finals.

Claymore

The bullying gets established early on through a military camp, before we come back to the present where a domestic situation forces a family apart. The father (Bobby Young) sets to the booze, but there are some police officers who still hold just a bit more than a grudge against him. The film came together well.

A Quack's Journey

A hug, a card and a lotto ticket seem like innocuous enough ways to greet a returning scientist, but mixed with his discovering invisibility and the fact he has had a lucky streak recently means the upcoming Powerball draw becomes a whole lot more interesting than normall.

I enjoyed how the team took a genuinely practical approach to explaining how someone could work out how to make objects disappear, with rare foreign gems from overseas that had unusual properties making things at least a little bit believable.

The resolution was also cute and amusing, and certainly one of the more inventive ways I have seen a guinea pig utilised in this competition.

I hate to be critical about this, but whilst the script was quirky, it was the performance and delivery of the material that held things back a bit. This is because I felt that the line deliveries didn't have much variation, or even stressing particular words to convery emotion and weight/meaning to what was being said. Also when lines were delivered people were either sitting or standing still, whereas some use of body language would have given more gravitas to proceedings.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

The Drop

A secret agent is given his orders to make the destruction of a base look like an accident, but as he takes his titular drop out of the aeroplane, his cellphone rings with a completely naive bitchy wife on the other line. Whilst he gets ready to pull the cord, she pulls his strings about housework and social engagement in typical laidback kiwi fashion. The usage of Ultra split screen here was absolutely fantastic, utilising a comic book panel style approach but knowing exactly how to keep things engaging, with decisive editing decisions to keep one panel at the centre of the viewer's attention, yet utilising the others to give the film more of a scope coverage. The result is it actually elevates the film in that respect compared to most other Ultras I've seen this year. Frigging fantastic sound design and impressive scope of animation pulled off. Probably just judge's personal preferences keeping this out of the Auckland final. Good voice work too. I did notice the characters dead seem a little deadpan due to no emotion in their faces like other reviewers which would probably also be my only minor qualm. Thanks for uploading, though!

Glitch

Technically amazing as always, this went quite deep on concepts of immortality and human nature vs technology with an open-ended approach that had the audience captivated. Serious nods to THE MATRIX but without any homage and a genuine attempt to do something different, with a dreamy yet sinister vibe to the whole proceedings. Those tunnel shots were truly something. Visual effects were also subtle but terrific and the script whilst minimalist kept an air of intrigue as to who the Morpheus-like overlord was and what he meant to our protagonist. I'm expecting this in the Wellington final because the film as described above is very strong, but as an 'Ultra' film I'm seriously disappointed. Yes there's children and yes the events of the film kind of skirt/subvert that regarding the adult protagonist. I'll wait until others have seen the film to say any more. EDIT = Film would have been a 6/7 if not for the Ultra shortcomings.

Cut Up

Really well shot, like the best shot teen film by far this year in terms of framing and focus. Reminded me of the 80s slasher He Knows You’re Alone stylistically, with the puzzle pieces being kind of obvious and yet the slow burning revelation still having good effect. Nice work.

Trapped in the Act

Nice take on the genre; I'm guessing you saw the Martin Freeman starring world 48 Hours winner from a couple of years back? A mime in Civic Square felt that they were trapped in a concrete cubile, much to their friends' amusement and his frustration. I thought the switch between scenes of reality and the mind entrapment were exceptional, but the ending came a bit abruptly.

The Masterclass

A production team gets an interview with the ultimate subject that nobody has been able to get their hands on until now...Death! With a demonic skeletal appearance he (they?) then proceeds to give a masterclass in horror.

This had some absolutely wild elements from the gore and elevator urine, to the puppets and costuming, and was very subversive in a good way. The horror-comedy vibe was just right and it tread a fine line between a lesson in how to scare and a lesson in how to die.

I would implore anyone thinking of making a mockumentary to have a good look at this film in future; any negative tropes were turned on their head for the better with a focus on allowing the plot to develop organically with the documenting crew simply being part of the story. For example Death waxing lyrically about the best time to scare being when reality slips would have been a talking head moment for a lesser team, but given his demonic voice and horrific mask it instead becomes a highlight.

The fact that the film built and built and then paid off when the shit hit the fan was very satisfying to see.

Technically strong throughout most with a well done edit and particularly well done lighting. Performances were the standout for me to pick the best thing about the film.

In terms of minor issues, audio was a tad muffled in the first minute or so of the film and the human characters were a little underdeveloped to the point of just being bodies to be killed at the climax. But thoroughly entertaining overall.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Wellingtopia

With a strong dystopian foundation laid out (animation was a massive advantage to be able to show a decrepit Wellington) this morbid and charming effort by Lovely Bongo Drums brought a smile to my face from ear to ear. Felt like what Tex Avery would have done if he had access to flash software back in the day. Also reminded me of Courage the Cowardly Dog but instead of terrified protagonist the lone survivor eternal optimist welcomed their new friend, even if said new friend is a death-bringing leper/ghost type creature. Oh and I can't forget the fan-service to your own 48hours films - love it! ps those long lasting cans = puuuuke hahaha.

Mind The Gap

A trio of high school girls ponder their lives with exams and cellphones, and compare themselves to the older generation with their craft beer and artisan chocolate. We're also told through exposition that a lot of younger people have been 'crossing over' to the older side when they forget who they are as their younger selves. Bit of a creepy vibe as this isn't just metaphorical but results in completely disappearing from the young universe ala a Thanos snap when you forget your youthful self, or at least this was my take. I appreciated the attempt at subversion however it did have an air of standing around and talking for most of it. I think it would have been a much stronger film if the older generation had not just been talked about but instead properly integrated. I mean I get that the cross over was the integration, but the lack of explanation as to why the cross over was happening despite all the talking meant it was a hard sell in my book. The camera was also very static and for more dynamism I would have suggested not filming most of the film through long shots.

Strings Attached

One of the darkest 48Hours films I have ever seen in terms of subject matter as an abusive domestic relationship was shown through the abuser treating his partner as a puppet. Phone calls and access to friends are stopped and emotional abuse is hurled at the victim. This presented a really tough subject matter and subverted its genre however whilst a strong story the actors did feel a little bit like they were reading lines other than the friend who was concerned about the abuse, and stood out.

Raw Chains

The standard definition camera that this team clearly shot their film on actually helped itself immensely to the genre that they were provided. The fact that the whole thing was found footage also gets a big thumbs up from me. Holed up in a barn that the group of friends jokingly pronounce as haunted, things quickly go fairly horribly wrong. This felt quite claustrophobic but had just the right level of pacing to avoid any shaky camera issues. The darkness often seen on screen kept you guessing at all times as well.

Nosferatu II: No Sferatus Today

A small metal case in a warehouse is the target for our would be thief in this delirious vampire vs crook romp, where gonzo camerawork was the order of the day and Max Shreck is nowhere to be found, sequel title be damned.

Things got off to a relatively sedated start as our hero bumbled his way out of a bin he had hid himself in. Certainly a head scratching way to start the heist and then frantically scrambled around until his best Harrison Ford impression presents the box he is after and from there things get. WILD.

Played deadpan with wonderfully suited music to proceedings, the everyman versus Dracula fight was indeed just a catalyst for insanely inventive camerawork. Super low angles giving our bloodsucker a menacing presence. The protagonist sent flying in a way that would have made Sam Raimi jealous. Just really fun edits that fans of low budget horror films will thoroughly enjoy.

Story a bit basic? Who cares! Play this on the big screen please Christchurch judges!

Story: 2/5
Technical: 4.5/5 (simply for that fucking amazing camerawork <3)
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Dead Last

A fake trailer for an upcoming horror-action film that included blood, intrigue, an exorcist priest and guns. First things first; the positives were that it was bold, fun and kept repeating keywords that would hopefully attract an audience if they were to come see the supposed film on release. Also made complete fun of itself ala the fake trailers in the Grindhouse (Planet Terror/Death Proof) releases. The negatives = why fake American accents? Why have part of the trailer scratchy like a film print and other parts in crystal clear HD? Why add a supernatural element with the shot of the priest and have the trailer announcer not mention it when you are promoting a horror film? Also, ambitious long trailers do often give you a general storyline idea without giving anything away and this did not. It was fun, but there were a lot of potential things that could have been done better.

scienc

Fairly ridiculous music, but the whole film was fairly ridiculous. A scientist is annoyed that his friends don't like him when he is smart and charming, and so he sets out to show them with science by disintegrating all of them with a ray. The audience gave this a good response, and I liked the visual effects but me not being a fan of the music meant I thought it was average overall.

Bags

Some of my favourite horror movies are of the haunted house variety (The Innocents, The Haunting) and the key things they do is build a sense of dread by letting the viewer make their own interpretations in a lot of instances. But believe you me, when it comes time to scare, they do not hold back. Unfortunately this short chose to use a voiceover from the ghost’s point of view and give him a flat out mean spirited attitude. What this did was lost any sense of dread right from the start, and the fact that the film was presented in such a serious manner meant that the option of making it an entertaining or funny film was also gone. I would actually be interested to know what tone the team was going for – was it supposed to be a dark comedy? The score was good but before anyone harps on about how great it looked (which it did), the camera positioning was another reason for the scares failing. This is because every shot that I can recall was wide angle and steady. Movements and zooms are a troupe of this genre that really can’t be ignored, because they unsettle the audience. Sorry for the novel guys, but I’m just clearly saying why it didn’t work for me. EDIT - I see Dawkward's reviews. I'm not saying that Couch Kumaras needed shaky cams and zooms; there are some amazing steady horror films out there as well. In this particular instance the voiceover just didn't work. The score was beautiful.

In a Vacuum No One Can Hear You Scream

This was a great way to start the Wellington heats for 2021's competition. Opening with stylish black and white scope imagery as a vacuum made its way across the floor with excellent sound design, you had my attention, with things turning darkly comic quickly as our lead struggled with his traditional carpet cleaner.

Moving onto an infomercial, the team used overt humour regarding this year's elements to sell their pitch of a wonderful new vacuum that would wipe out all the problems that a traditional vacuum causes. The only issue is that it is in a bet of a beta phase, with an incredible amount of disclaimers run across the bottom of the screen as it kind of has a mind of its own.

Terrific performance by your lead actor. Clean focused camerawork and sound was really good. Some nice graphics and a strong parody of home shopping network television. I think it verged a little bit towards being too self-referential for its own good and just by virtue of it being a solo performer selling an ad, I did feel talked at rather than engaged with even when the humour hit its mark (driveways, really dark joke etc).

The ending saved the film to be honest. Slightly predictable but really well done. WOW!

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Its Not a Pirates Life for me

Lovely opening overhead shot onto a pirate family's boat, as the docked band of buccaneers have come to Wellington for their young son's 'Arrrrgh-mitzfah'. Only he's not so sure he wants to make others walk the plank, when options such as planning for the City Council seem slightly more appealing in his measured eyes than covering one of them with a patch. This threw caution to the wind with a shit ton of dad jokes and puns, and squeezed every pirate trope the team could think of into its 5 minute run time, from swashbuckling to kidnapping. Whilst I loved the camerawork to start I felt that as the film went on it lacked the energy that could have elevated it as most shots were steady with little movement. I know that's nitpicking given the film was set on a docked boat, but then that was your choice.

Unfinished Symphony

Holy moly an actual...documentary in 48 Hours? About the creative process of stop animation with some tender resonating moments of artistic self-reflection? Yeah this was a simple story but one told bloody well with some seriously impressive animation.

Based at our artist's work bench, he let us know how what he does presents endless possibilities as everything around us can have a heartbeat if you take the time to breathe one into it. The therapeutic nature of bringing inanimate objects to life was particularly resonating.

This was a really sweet film and whilst brief it had moments of genius. I thought it just looked incredibly cool to have the animated 'musicians' playing whilst cleverly giving the impression that the hand was moving at normal speed. It gave me a "hold on just a second..." moment when I stopped to think about how much attention to detail you needed to take to pull that off.

The acknowledgement of how animation is an age-old artform and a way of connecting with history and moving away from the distractions of modern technology was also heartwarming. Overall a very memorable film and for going actual documentary and letting us into your world, I salute you.

The minor drop in marks are because of personally thinking the required character element wasn't a real home run, but the rest of the film was stellar.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Three's A Crowd

After forgetting to send most of the invites out, a party of just three gets pretty awkward when one of the guys has a severe dislike for the other male guest. This was small scale showing the massive issues that can be caused by bottling things up and failing to communicate.

Seemingly all the right ingredients are there; a few classic board games and a nice spread of food, but unfortunately a non-drinker in the mix just makes the craft beer lover's blood boil.

What I found most appealing here was the camerawork and pacing of the film. The tight work and some nice low angles presented heightened emotions and frustrations boiling over at times. Production design was also clean and involving, yet decorated to the point of the location being a particular highlight. Very well done compared to 90% of teams that shoot at their house or apartment.

I wasn't particularly sold on the script, as it felt pretty clearcut to me who the real dickhead was in the film fairly early on. But I did have some chortles at the overly dramatic humour.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 1.5/5
Overall: 2/5

;

Paul turns up at the party of Bobby Young, somebody who he has not seen for years and with good reason, as they discuss and show the results of some pretty vicious previous bullying. Bobby has the girl now, the friends and everything Paul doesn't, but in terms of remorse he only really makes a brief sorry statement to Paul. Clearly this isn't enough and a very good opportunity rears its head for revenge in the form of a pinyata. Pretty easy to see where this was going straight away but it was well acted and shot.

Good Company

This was a really nice looking film with excellent depth of focus throughout so well done whoever was your DP! This also had really strong contrast with smart costuming decisions to clearly identify each character against the warm backdrop of the timber cabin.

In terms of the film itself, I actually really liked that you used the idea of someone inviting themselves to a party and the unsettling feeling of the fish out of water hitchiker being on another planet in terms of humour compared to the existing group of friendly lads was particularly well done.

Also technically this has good clean sound, impressive performances and an entertaining script.

Unfortunately then that ending, for me, absolutely let the film down like a hot air balloon that had been punctured. I hope I'm not being too harsh because you had garnered an incredible amount of goodwill in the first 4 and a half minutes only to go down a dark predictable rabbit hole. Arguably it was a STEPFATHER-type on to the next victim statement, but it just needed a bit more to be shown if it was indeed a cycle continuing type message.

However, nail the ending next time and you'll be progressing past the heats with your clear and obvious talent.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

The Long-Con

An amazing phone message gives a stoic hitwoman her next target, but the blind positivity of her Greenpeace leader target means that what should be a straightforward kill turns into a barrel of deadpan laughs romcom. Kind of worked better in my mind as an anti-romcom! The camerawork needed some focus and contrast to it plus was mostly static when some variety would have helped, and there was audible distortion on the soundtrack, but this team committed to an idea and ran with it which made it a highlight in the heat. Playing the material dead straight meant that being a 'yes woman' was highly believable as she had a job to do, and whether that took 1 second or 10 years it would get done even if it meant putting up with getting married or having a baby. A lot of promise here.

The Prototype

A scientist comes up with a new energy source, which gets stolen by an aggresively flirtatious rival; the term 'jumping someone' never really fitted better. However the scientist's assistant won't stand for the theft, so she and he set about infiltrating the office of the rival in order to get their invention back, and put egg on their face for a presentation to a leading company who could fund the project. I liked the barrel rolls, cheeky high 5 ending and the flirtatious rival had great screen presence.

Altered

Wellington 2043 with not just one but 2 title cards to explain to the audience what was happening regarding a new drug on the street. Pretty cool dystopian cyberpunk thriller with the drone joke the absolute highlight. Makeup was nice too, reminded me a lot of tv show 'The Tribe'. I think the plot just needed a bit more clarity in terms of direction.

Zero Dark 4' 1" .7

In Slovakia, Eastern Europe, a couple with access to nuclear launch codes are held tied up and captive by a terrorist who threatens to torture them again unless he gets the numbers he needs for a strike. Clearly shot footage (nothing really striking though, it was mainly shot/reverse shot couple tied to chairs versus villain in the shadows) and a couple of name actors, but not really a Race against the Clock film at all.

Residual

Good gravy when I saw this genre pop up for 2021 I thought it would be a tough ask for teams to come up with convincing story arcs of redemption within 5 minutes, but Nutbar gave it their best shot with an almost dialogue-free film that actually clocked in closer to 4 minutes!

With a wounded man on the run from cop sirens, we followed his progress to an abandoned house, with 2 teenagers also intrigued by the place. However whilst it seems they are actually in completely different universes, things come to a head.

Like I loved the atmosphere here. The editing was great for what you shot, sound design was nice and camera work was really high quality. I was just completely and utterly lost as to what the link was to the kids and what the electric shock/sacrifice represented when the 2 worlds combined. I'm assuming it's supposed to be open-ended, but that makes me question how the 'redemption' aspect of the genre was even ticked at all?

Cool use of invisibility, I think, but also puzzled about the antihero/reluctant hero/unlikely hero...don't think any of the characters ticked those boxes? But I must be missing something sorry.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Oscar and the Bearded Gentlepersons' Society

Essentially a quest film as our protagonist searched for the ingredients to replace their missing beard, which had placed them in high esteem in a MULTIPLICITY-like beard club. The loss of the titular facial hair produced one of the best reaction shots of the Dunedin heats, and I applaud you for getting out and about to provide a sense of adventure to the film with the cliff climbing being particularly commendable. Your lead actor was energetic and had a solid screen presence, and this film was a really strong example at times of how to use the 50/50 line effectively for shot-reverse shot.

For mine, the script could have used just a little bit of polish, as some of the dialogue was a tad expository. The zany characters were fun, such as the rambling herbit, but muffling a voice with a mask can create issues hearing dialogue for any director (see: TENET) so I think I missed a critical plot development about 2/3 of the way through the film. I was definitely engaged, but the ending seemed slightly random in that I was not sure whether it was a celebration of gender diversity or trying to get us to laugh at a woman wearing a beard? Maybe both? But overall this was a fun film.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Awake Like An Egyptian

Last year’s best bad film winners really did not change their style too much, complete with shooting in Black and White again, but the laughs were more chuckles this time around than belly aches. Starting in 1210BC with a curse on a newy tombed mummy, we converged into the 60s as a tenuous family link was made.

Covert Movements

Toilet jokes, a P.I and an investigation with perfomers playing multiple roles. I'm going to apologise to you right here Cactus, my review notes are scattered possibly from writing in the dark and being tired so I was not really sure what happened in the film from a plot point of view. I recall your lead actress played this very deadpan, and there was a replica tank, but it was just unclear what happened.

Story: ?/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: Not fair to give a grade sorry. Not sure if that's on me not paying enough attention or if it was genuinely that confusing.

Think Punk

How on earth am I supposed to review this film? I'm really sorry to hear that you were disqualified, and thank you so much for sharing such an intimate personal video diary about your family history, but this just went over my head as to how the film we watched was related to the competition. The final 90 seconds attack on Fox News and George Bush were welcomed, and I appreciate you not being afraid to speak the truth, you're a talented guy and confident on camera but I found this a very awkward watch due to so much seemingly being irrelevant to 48 Hours.

Story: NA/5
Technical: NA/5
Overall: DQ/5

Strings Attached

Oh come one everyone this was not a 1 or 2 star film you mean pricks! Sian Reynolds as a socially awkward girl falls for a socially awkward boy the only problem is that their connection is through the puppets that live on their hands and he still struggles to see her. This explored the concept of being an introvert very well, and I thought the inclusion of the puppets to allow the characters to be someone who they were actually not was a clever idea as well, because extreme introverts often look to their outward appearance for more bravery. I feel the ending of this film was a bit heavy handed and mean spirited however also felt that camerawork was very solid. The sound design had moments where it was unclear who was talking due to not using separated channels for the puppets but there was definitely promise in this film that was just slightly unfulfilled.

Plastic Splatstick

Used the 48Hours platform to present a darkly comic call to get rid of plastic bags, through bumbling kidnappers and a startling can-do alternate universe female Prime Minister. Held mostly high production values and the jokes were well timed. Fairly decent sound with clear dialogue for the strong script. Probably a bit of a smokey stabbey dark horse for the shortlist.

Perishables

I really liked the tone on this film. Forelorn and sardonic with a sense of acceptance regarding mass organised killing to appease a minister's call for societal reduction. Bleak and dark it reminded me of an incredibly low budget version of a book that Evelyn Waugh never wrote. Like there was really not much to the film, just a darkly comic acceptance of those accepted to die that they will, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Work on the technical side of things a bit guys and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in future.

A Problem With Tomatoes

This team apologised for their audio before the film played due to having to use a backup mic, and to be honest guys whilst the levels were a bit loud at times, it was nowhere near the worst I've come across in 48 Hours. Probably better than half the films this year anyway. A blind or internet date goes fairly horribly wrong for our Nicky Brick when he is knocked out and handcuffed to the bed with a satanic sign painted on his chest by his potential date for her coven (and garden). What follows is a good level of interplay between the two, as well as another particularly energetic supporting actor. The virgin jokes were clever (not sure why they didn't get more laughs) and the both leads were really good. The woman who played 'Storm' was quite a stunner.

Super Dead

Opening with a Brian De Palma inspired split screen revelation that a best friend has passed away, this deadpan investigation into the suspicious death of a close friend had one of the best uses of invisibility I saw in NZ this year.

The script also had some standout moments in terms of dialogue, but technically this was pretty raw. For example said initial split screen shot had one half of the screen out of focus, whilst fuzz on the audio track did occur on multiple occassions and the volume peaked and dipped significantly throughout. Some excellent music choices at times, though.

Whilst I strongly disliked the stabby ending, this covered ground about how jealous we get and how rife tall poppy syndrome is in New Zealand to this very day. Performances were pretty solid across the board.

I liked the attempt to subvert the genre, but for me it missed the mark because when I'm thinking about a film I've watched in 48 Hours I personally feel that another genre (here, Crime) shouldn't be the thing that I think of first and foremost and then get a shock when I'm reminded that the required genre was something else.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 1/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 2/5

Different Strokes For Different Folks

Nice animated work by a one-man team, as they contemplated the quests we all go on personally.

Thirst Contact

Placeholder review.

Sprung

A ripoff of the film Jumper, but done with a local charm. Set in the year 2078, a couple of cyber cops are sent to investigate recent illegal jumping activity [I'm pretty sure; the wall of text at the start was TL;DR]. Kept it real with locations including the racecourse stands, and the local dairy, you got good performances out of your young actors. I liked that you mixed up the tone with the serious guys (ending was a shock!) and the happy go lucky fishing kids. Just need to do an original idea next time.

Castle Cat-burglars

Cloaked druid types plan a heist to steal a well guarded crystal from an imposing castle, that will bring them wealth beyond their wildest dreams. Really well done invisibility and a nice little exploration of how greed can undo anyone.

The locations and costumes were well presented, utilising nice tight angles to provide a believable medieval setting. I think your actors played their parts well, and the knight guarding the treasure was a particular highlight.

Some memorable imagery was at play here, but there were a few instances where I felt that lighting didn't quite hit the mark, and the ending felt rushed. Still, a fast paced and fun short, just perhaps a bit light in terms of both motivation for the crystal, and consequence. You certainly entered the scene late and exited early, which is good film making advice to follow, but it came at the expense of a little bit more plot that I felt was needed.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

Daemon

Apparently the Rite of Serepis (sp?) is an ancient ritual for body switching. Well, nice to know, but yeah this was one for the books. After some tribal humming drums, the first phase begins and milky liquid gets poured. That's only the beginning though, if you want a visual assault on your eyeballs then come no further than this film, which had enough body rubbing and general strangeness to get you through a week. I loved it.

REWRITE

A struggling writer searches for inspiration after having lost what made his previous work so great. So far we are seeing some nice interpretations of this genre and this was another solid example, being about a reunion of the self/mind. It was however better played than that simplistic description with several different mental angles, and an examination of the strain writer’s block causes on relationships. Excellent use of the line is noted in my book.

Breadcrumbs

I know it was only acapella and for less than 5 seconds, but you still can't use BLACK EYED PEAS - I GOTTA FEELING in this competition, guys! sheesh! But with regards to the film itself, it was a serious effort that I guess made the point to live each day to the max. Our hospitalised lead really has this hit home to him when he flashbacks to previous memories before his accident, but this time does it through the bodies of his friends. Serious overuse of focus on the bedridden's eyes to try and manipulate the audience I thought, but hey that's just me. Technically decent otherwise.

Hira's Tree

Felt like quite a believable urban legend, as we focused on a local one that apparently should be of great benefit to those who have issues with luck - which I'd say three missed opportunities down the altar definitely qualifies as. Played it straight on the whole rather than using the previous tragedy as a comedic opportunity like a lot of teams would have. Good use of the required elements but the voice over taking over gave it more of an after-school special than filmic feel in my book. Still, it set out to tell an original urban legend and achieved that. I would have just personally liked to have seen more a story developed by characters actions rather than essentially being described by the voiceover.

Quantum Couriers

Boredom is a killer but so is laziness, and I felt this was a thoroughly entertaining expose on generational corner cutting through a tale of time traveling courier siblings.

When a call comes in from the boss, it means that the time to stop playing face taping games has arrived, however the ghost of Halloween 2039 still haunts them when the matter of it being an urgent delivery is riased. What went wrong that previous spooky season is left up to our imagination, but it sets the scene for some number 8 wire ingenuity to get through time and space using tinfoil and suspension of disbelief.

The outlined plot setup was really just a springboard to montage the siblings working together to deliver their payload, and then go for an enjoyable comedic conclusion. It also allowed the closeness of the sibling bond to be further showcased by working together to prep their time traveling car, and the team to play to their strengths with highlighted neon lighting and fantastic, absolutely fantastic original synth based music that felt organic and hummed with impressive bass.

The sound in general was well done. I noticed that you dubbed and it was slightly out of sync at times, but absolutely forgiveable in my book given it made the dialogue clear and easy to follow, and avoided the echoey pitfall of shooting in an open space like a garage that I have seen all too often in this comp, so good move there.

The music was the definite highlight, and the lighting memorable though I did note a little bit of inconsistency with the light just before the time traveling happened.

My main issue would be the story being a little straightforward, and overall tone to proceedings. Moments of gold for sure but I think I would have just liked to have seen more weight given to the trauma of Halloween 2039, or more focus on comedy, or playing up the slightly low budget approach with the tinfoil. Because by not fully committing in tone one way or other it did make the film feel a little uneven. But that soundtrack, sign me up!

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

48 Hour Famine

Fucking amazing meta puppet film. Made me giddy. 3 October - as a judge I am so so so sad this was DQ and hence not in finals despite the almost unanimously deserved 7/7s. Sigh :(

Dial 'M' for Killing

Got given the choice of musical or splatter, and of course went for both! I dig it! Essentially a tail of bloodlust, as the requirement to be satiated by higher levels of claret spiraled out of control.

Driven by a chorus who sung and narrated from the side with many a pun and 4th wall break, our lead actress started her day badly when flies buzzed just a bit too much near her bed, but through the development of a nervous tick soon a handful of bugs don't cut it. Fish, birds, cats and old bats are all fair game when you dial M for Murder.

Honestly, utterly bizarre in tone but highly enjoyable. It had moments that reminded me of John Waters' early cruel dark humour mashed with Russ Meyer (the chorus in UP!). The songs were well sung though a teeny bit unclear in terms of lyrics. Lighting was fantastic where it was used also.

I think the story itself was just a bit singular in tone. It was highly enjoyable and whilst the lady became meaner and meaner, it was still sickly comic in how this was portrayed. By singular in tone I mean that as a story we never really had a dramatic question asked to drive the film, it just was escalated bloodlust from woah to go in my opinion. But I enjoyed it!

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

I'm Actually There

Invisible superhero is about all you need to know, but the film gets a lot better and has some great visual gags when said male superhero meets somebody else who is also invisible. Some of the camerawork was a bit odd, but ithe film knew its genre conventions well and played on them for good comedic efffect. ...Also had far and away the best freeze frame ending so far in Wellington.

Houses & Humans

Ok, fess up time, I was a massive Dungeons and Dragons nerd when I was younger, so I liked the subversion of taking Gary Gygax's mega popular RPG and mixing it with THE SIMS, although it took me a little bit of time to realise what was going on.

Quite a fun romp with plenty of laughs at the Roxy screening I attended as the player characters were put through their paces to role play real life, doing such meandering tasks in hilarious fashion as cleaning the house, burning toast with tomato sauce and exploding potatoes that were meant to be chopped.

A subplot of immortals being those playing at the table went a little bit over my head to be honest with a confusing conclusion, but overall the subversion was enjoyable.

The main point I would raise would be to try and find a more exciting location next time. Houses/apartments are fairly done to death in this competition and whilst I appreciate you were flipping the script to stand out, that's my personal stance generally.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Captain Actuality: The Return of the Diddler

Pow! Slam! The crook is down and the police are on their way is illustrated in bold comic font at the start of this caper, episode 20 in Season 4 of 'Captain Actuality'.

I get you were working with zero budget, but please please try and refrain from using incredibly well known music that you don't have the rights to would be my advice. The nintendo wii menu music playing as the crook and hero took the lift down together was jarring to see.

Now whilst the repeated lines and fourth wall breaking of having the director's instructions stay in the final take may have seen a bit meta to your team, for me as a viewer it moved the film from entertaining z-grade to frustrating. Z-grade was indeed a genre in 2017 but unless it was by accident then bloopers would be best left until after the credits to generate audience engagement. It honestly didn't even make sense as to why they were there given they were done deliberately. Why was the video game a film set? I feel that the fact I am so confused about the film shows some of the issue with taking this approach.

I get what you were trying to achieve with your overall arc, by having it be a film within a film...within a film. I think. Or game within a film within a film. Or do I? My head is spinning. But not in a good way because the INCEPTION attempt of trying to layer the film so heavily.

The actor who portrayed the Diddler was strangely entertaining I'll admit, the costume of the 'old man' quirky and fun and I appreciate the charm you were going for in trying to emulate shows like the 1960s Batman, I just think that the clear storyline you needed got lost in translation. The writeup in the screening room details the threat of chaos and yet I felt no dramatic urgency.

You probably think I'm being a dick with all this negativity. The thing is, I actually absolutely love strange and bizarre films in this comp, and even better when teams rise up without a budget purely on talent. Obviously you know your retro hero history, so just a clearer more concise storyline in future will help immensely.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 1/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1/5

End of the Saga

I really liked this film which was a good 2 minutes max in length made up of less than a handful of shots but covered everything it needed to. A couple of Wizards/warriors, I wasn't sure which they were and it didn't really matter, the point was they had impressive beards and costumes, discuss the war which they are currently engaged in. However due to the battle finishing soon one is sent on his way to deliver news to the castle. The timing was perfect, overdubs solid and moving the framing from super wide scope to 16:9 was an inspired touch.

General Incivility

Strong electrotherapy to cure insomnia. Sound a bit dangerous, doesn't it? And it proves that way when we are advised that if Vic Meyer doesn't wake up in 14 hours, she will sleep/walk forever. There were a few good lines, and ideas regarding conscious/subconscious behaviour, but I felt that some more character motivation was needed for the actions that we saw on screen.

Viktorious

Or, Frankenstein’s Robot, this team went all-in and it paid off in spades with a low budget zinger of hilarity. Followed a bullied (but envied for their genius) young man creating a robot with some terrific capabilities, and the gory results of man trying to play god. Z-grade effects brought a high level of laughs after a slow burning start and a genuine contender for best worst film.

#ourplanet

After expository youth protest news footage, we are zapped into the present future where everyone born prior to the millenium has been annihilated, or so it seems. With a concrete post apocalyptic vibe, guerilla Sami Raimi-inspired camerawork and frenetic editing, this team really presented their film with an urgency that sent the blood pumping. I particularly liked the colourful WARRIORS-inspired gang of juvenile delinquents, and some of your shots were absolutely beautifully framed. Where I think the film could have been a little better was that due to the dialogue heavy way the story was set, it almost came across as a blink and you missed what was really happening opening to the bravura. Also whilst I liked the music that was utilised when the hunt was on, the edit was a bit jumpy in terms of the A/V match up. However I really grooved on the tone, and enjoyed the attempt at a ecological footprint PSA message. Having said that, the stabby ending is one of my personal bugbears in 48Hours so that's the reason for the 4/7.

When the time comes

At a dinner we view a relationship that is obviously not balanced with the alpha male ordering (the wrong) drinks for his clearly frustrated partner. However fate would happen to have it that a third party should come into the mix due to smart phone failures. What progresses is an engaging little film with strong performances and whilst verbally based, knowing the limitless boundaries of film, is also not beyond the realms of possibility. Science fiction setup vs realllly clever plan? Hard to say, either way there was good chemistry between the two playing a game of talk and respond with a nice open ending.

A Loaf Story

Lovey dovey harmonising was the name of the game here as a girl and a baker came to realise their true feelings for one another.. Really positive approach to the genre that covered all the required technical elements well. I actually would have loved to have seen a little bit more, for example one more song or even a scene without singing to break up the action and give it a dramatic flow, but I can't deny this left a smile on my face. Nice songwriting, simple to follow story and technically sound.

Super Self Me

After talking to a shrink, our lead decides to build up some self-esteem by wearing a costume and confronting people from his past under the alias 'Captain Confidence'. Their was some really good black comedy in this film, from tipping over wheelchairs to telling children they would be safe because their father was murdered.

Compress

Genuine contender for the overall top Wellington prize, as our lead came to grips with being dumped in an absolutely bravado dazzling display of emotional intensity, conveyed almost exclusively through movement and dance juxtaposed with a damaged soul, with music video quality shots cut in rendering feelings raw where required. The eyeball shots of crying in the rain for example. Just wow. Also a shining example of making sure every single shot was tightly set up and played with just such absolute passion that I was in awe. Sound was perfect, with minimal dialogue other than the dumping and some very wise words of wisdom by people that matter the most in a young person's life. Even included actual high school footage where whoever was on art department duty had actually made an effort. I truly believed these adult actors were in their teens simply on the performances. Camera work on show was absolutely top notch there's very little negative I can think of to say about this film at all. Coming of age nailed? You betcha.

Velcome To Vampvile

Ok so first of all I see that what's in the screening room here is an extended cut running 6 minutes 22 so I have to ask the question did you write a 6 and a half page script and have to cram it into the 5 minutes? Because my first piece of advice would be to write no more than 5 pages next year. I get and massively appreciate a 'go big or go home' mentality, but if you view this competition as asking you to make a slice of life film then what you produce is probably going to be a lot tighter. I know that this probably comes across as massively preachy and condescending, but when I see extended cuts jump out at me I feel obligated.

The film itself is a fun take on vampires, bursting with energy from the opening frame with guerilla camerawork as a baseball wielding Frog-brother type strolls down the street seemingly driven to drive out bloodsuckers from his neighbourhood, only to form an unlikely connection with the fanged undead as they welcome him into their home with open arms.

I appreciated the in jokes to tie this into the WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS universe and subverting all expectations straight off the bat by having a flat full of vamps who love garlic, though wished the film had a bit more to say than riffing off the expectations of the audience.

Got to say though, the actor who played the party crashing Ivan was absolutely outstanding. What a great performance! Just stole the whole show for me and elevated the short from average at that point to enjoyable! Cows blood jokes, understanding physical performance and line delivery was just sensational.

Technically a few issues for me with some camerawork that felt unfocused not in terms of the actual focus of the lens, but more just leaving a lot of negative space in the scene. Audio whilst easy to discern what was said also felt a bit echoey due to shooting in larger open areas of the house I felt.

But a fun film and for that I give you credit.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

In The Basement

Having heard that there is a ghost in the basement of the building they hang out in that grants wishes, a group of young people make their way down what seems like a set of everlasting corridors and stairs to try and make their dreams come true. This played fairly loosely, but enjoyably with some down to earth humour and really great lighting effects at times. To give an example of the tone one of the happy go lucky characters only wanted some KFC as their wish, which was backed up by another! The sound design was fairly good although there was a technical hiccup when audio from a subsequent scene came in too early to the existing footage we were watching. I also noted some shaky camera work but from memory this was when tight spots were being covered, so not really a mark down. With the utilisation of angles the scope of the building really did feel like an infinite maze at teams, giving the film a dream-like quality. I liked that it played like a quest but do think that the final act of the film could have been a lot more satisfying.

Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Squidwig which followed immediately afterwards at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

Finding Rose

I got quite a Highlander 2 meets The Matrix vibe with this one with the whole bad cloaked dude coming in and spouting prophecy + love interest being used as torture bait. What I'd recommend to this team more than anything would be to make sure they use better lighting going forward. A little grain and shadow here and there is obviously ok, but it felt like enough detail wasn't paid to these areas in a couple of key scenes.

Love Arktually

Came across as a bit of a PSA for practising safe sex, which was funny when I think about it now given that the team did an unrelated PSA as their intro before the start of the film. Twisted as always but with more of a narrative framework than usual from Readers' Wives at least in terms of having a three act structure. Also didn't make me laugh like normal but I still dug it. We focused on Noah's ark and his ghetto fabulous girlfriend who have domestics. Noah doesn't deal with this too well, and the situation on his boat doesn't get much better when the inhabits are the most raunchy bunch of animals ever known to man. The pressure of his ghetto booty lady means that the opportunity for love with someone else is always there, but in the days before protective sex there is the chance for something to go (horribly) wrong. Randomly flashing disco floor lights, a Dinosaur DJ and the shots of the ark rollicking through the high seas were visual highlights. Song was sweet too and stuck in my head now "...Got the Hiv"

Negotiation

I hope the actress who broke her leg has a smooth recovery!!! Nice interplay between a cop and thief, with a wall separating the two of them only for bits and pieces to come together over the course of the film. I think my biggest issue with this one was genre as the flashbacks didn't really present opposites, and perhaps we lacked one story beat or 2 to make us really care about the characters due to how they fell out? But by working towards opposites at the end of the relationship rather than opposites working towards a relationship I guess that's subversive. Camerawork was steady although static and performances were good.

Odd Pairs

Our Nicky has a real problem; they keep ending up with all the odd socks that everybody loses. Unfortunately for them the cops think he has actually been stealing them and so look to take him down. His vegetarian girlfriend stands by him but the crime scene evidence does start to all add up. Few good laughs at how harsh the team is to Nicky but the acting was a bit theatrical. Could have done with some location scouting as largely being set at their flats was a bit boring. Quite a lot of effort put in at least by the actors to try and sell the story but it was too silly for its own good.

Fused

SOLO ENTRY and eff me that must have been a billion times harder than duo: setting your own camera and essentially ruling out tracking shots, zooms etc, but the brains behind this one made some really smart film-making decisions by giving it movement and energy through lights, colour, flowing water, car travel, and screen footage (though not sure they had the rights to show what was on the screen briefly at the Photon Lux bar for commercial use for the comp - might have been Matthew Mcconaughey but I could have this wrong and I apologise if I do). Given the difficulty in setting your own camera I'm also forgiving of the fact that numerous shots of the actress were out of focus. Actually more forgiving than the technical difficulties they may have faced is the fact that the story was bloody strong, intriguing, dreamlike and wholly original. There were elements of LOST IN TRANSALATION with hints of THE NEON DEMON and BLUE VELVET and yet it had a beautiful mis-en-scene throughout that made it feel like a recurring dream. The story was seemingly simple though interesting, as a dream bookended an ambitious 48 hours road trip, yet more complex than that with high concept examinations of behaviour and control versus fate. The editing was top notch and the use of contrast throughout the film was excellent. Just a shame about the focus and I do hope what was on screen at the bar didn't break the rules. Well done on making the shortlist :) EDIT - yep, my beady eye is correct there was pre-existing footage of a film with Matthew Mcconaughey used approximately 1m32 to 1m36 at Photon Lux (I've just re-watched in the screening room). Should have unfortunately been DQ on this technicality much like Purple Dragons in 2016. Poor from the judges to miss it. Positive comments still stand, this was very very impressive for a solo 16 year old!

Safety is the key

Safety protocols and high-vis vests will never be the same following this high quality incredibly strange monster movie by Daniel Cook's team where things quickly went awry for the new team put through their paces. The smug benefactor boss was played with aplomb, and your tongue-like slug monster effects really hit the mark for me. Lo-fi as fuck but very well shot and cut with a snappy ferocity to the proceedings. Jokes really hit the mark and me even mentioning the cat footage as questionable probably means you succeeded in what you set out to achieve. Disturbing and hilarious in my book.

Climatic

Took a leaf out of Grand Cheval's book (nowhere near as good as Child Jumpers, though) by doing a mockumentary that wasn't quite in that genre; plenty of talking heads but more where the team trying to save climate change were simply followed around as they tried to save the earth with the impending change supposedly happening in a matter of days. Some nice comic touches such as the email from Al Gore drew a decent audience response, but it was a one joke film and I hate talking heads in 48 Hours. EDIT 12 JUNE 2013 AFTER WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL. Boy watching this a 2nd time just made me absolutely cringe; your lead actor carries the film with an unrelenting loud in your face to the camera approach which obviously judges liked (but trust me, they all didn't love it by a long shot). The reason that downlowconcept and Grand Cheval mockos have worked in the past is by actually having character development with an emotional story arc. You had some really nice comic touches but this could have been pigeonholed to fit into any other genres.

Escaping Eden

Adam and Eve contemplate leaving the garden of Eden and bringing the word of God to the modern world, whilst Nicky Brick continued to show signs of being awfully unlucky before said two deities unleashed their superpowers of enlightenment. I've got to say I was impressed with the High School teams this year; it was obviously they poured a lot more effort into actually scriptwriting and the coherency displayed has been excellent. This film in particular had some great quick witted puns and inventive camerawork.

Pause and Effect

Who remembers the film Clockstoppers from 11 or 12 years ago? Um, I do, and it was a little bit ironic in my view for adults to rip off what was a children/family film. Bit more of a sinister dark vibe, given that the usage of stopping time was for criminal gain by our protagonist as opposed to stopping it in the original film. I thought the leads had good chemistry, but was disappointed that the team had not done something a bit more original.

Sleepover

A grumpy (but hilarious) dad and a forced restlessly early night for a group of boys at a pizza party sleepover means that it's time for horror stories and some classic kiwi bad taste splatstick ingenuity. This was kinetic in approach with lively performances and a nice buy in to the urban legend which pursued the young men with great vigour. The jokes were funny, the film screamed by in terms of pacing and I love that the team threw everything at their gore they possibly could. You really can get a lot out of sausages, fake blood and horse heads if you're committed. Getting out and about was impressive as well with the waterfall being a really strong final location. I noticed a colleague giving you some sound advice about not leaving the sound until last for your film, and I agree. It was cracking good fun but there were also quite literally some crackles on the audio, some muffled dialogue and several distorted peaks. Huge potential here though and for what I assumed was an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT reference to round out proceedings I take my hat off to you.

The Dragons are Coming

Having broken a statue, our Nicky Brick has cancelled the force field holding the dragon's back from attacking Earth, and so he only has a couple of hours to make things right. With a lack of superglue and some powers that be actually wanting the mythical creatures to arrive, however, it is quite a quest that our Nicky Brick goes on. Only this quest was more urban Wellington than magical, with supermarkets and petrol stations replacing castles/caves. The showdown in the school hall was cheesy and entertaining and I'm guessing the team may not have had access to much fantasy adventure costuming or effects? Meandered a little and could have done with an attempt to at least show a little bit of magic on-screen.

Naked Bug, Money

Contrasting stories between 2 crooks on the run and a scientific videographer/tv show naturist. The recent escapees built up some good rapport as buddies, but ended up being quite mean spirited. I guess that's acceptable given how strung out they would be in real life. The guy getting footage of worms had much better screen presence, although the same joke was used a few two many times. The convergence really felt abrupt which is what brought the rating down.

Connections

In a world where everyone has been completely consumed by their cellphones, those who have not yet been consumed by virtual reality are few and far between. Very 1984-ish in concept but put the onus on the user rather than any overbearing overwatching government. The dinner with mum and the lead's sisters was audaciously robotic and sinister, feeling as though it was saying cellphones literally take our souls and wills. To eat or to live, it's the same idea. A cinema full of lit up screens was a very meta moment, as we in the cinema audience saw a film watching a cinema audience. I respected the big ideas, I just would have liked to have seen more of a storyline rather than concept developed.

Instaman: The Untold Story

An old guy trains his young and fresh superhero disciple Instaman, who ends up accidentally blowing him up with a bomb. However he doesn't give up on his dream of becoming a hero, and is inspired by another girl called Rapid Girl who also has powers (the fast running was actually splendidly done), so gets his own cape to try and be a better rep for truth and justice. Of course there is a big faceoff with the nemesis down by the Hutt River, with some cheesy effects and hammy fighting for good measure. Captured the tropes of the genre well.

Pause and Effect

Who remembers the film Clockstoppers from 11 or 12 years ago? Um, I do, and it was a little bit ironic in my view for adults to rip off what was a children/family film. Bit more of a sinister dark vibe, given that the usage of stopping time was for criminal gain by our protagonist as opposed to stopping it in the original film. I thought the leads had good chemistry, but was disappointed that the team had not done something a bit more original.

Utka

So very very good. Be careful what you wish for indeed... I know that George Miller was a clear and obvious inspiration but boy oh boy did this deliver. Honestly the closest comparison I could think of was the writing of Gregoire Solotareff because this was most definitely its own morality tale and an absolute beast of a film, pun intended. Framing was captivating, pacing like a leisurely journey across an ocean paradise and an ability to emotionally resonate like few 48Hours films ever have. The only minor minute squibble I had was the voiceover not quite being technically perfect sound-wise however the performance was so great in terms of guiding us lucky viewers that this is most definitely still getting full marks from me. Oh and that music using strings to pull on my heart strings? YESSS. Poor little Utka... ps Robbed of top 3 at nationals.

Jaime.

In preparation for his girlfriend's birthday, our lead tries every conceivable idea that they can come up with in order to make her the perfect present, only for him to fail miserably in a comic manner. Made a good fist of the genre by throwing a lot of energy at the screen, the script, for lack of a better word, was a lot of fun. Lead actor had a lot of charm and I noted a nice original score. A couple of minor tech issues and a bit simplistic, but very enjoyable.

Plant

A book a bach has some very basic but specific instructions for our holiday goer to take care of a plant. Of course he can eat all the food he wants in the fridge if he wants, if only there was any. With the stage set this played out as a wonderfully paced game of cat and mouse as attempts to take the plant surreptitiously led the guy who was supposed to be relaxing into a state of paranoia. The use of Ultra split screen was exceedingly well done, replicating a kind of human security camera that put the audience in the shoes of the guy. I loved how things really escalated, with the cult-like triangle conclusion being a particular highlight. Editing was top notch here. Definite finals.

The Prepper

A rugby league mad survivalist comes to terms with his insular nature through therapy, because his paranoia leads him to believe the zombie apocalypse is coming. This was an in your face psyched up aggressive performance by our hard man lead who came onto the screen psyched up and steaming and did not let up until the end. I liked how the "just calm down, go and meet some people" approach from the shrink was measured and realistic, and setup an entertaining finale at the bus stop. Rugged film with good laughs.

No Refunds

A group who all badly miss their grandma think that a necromancer type with access to bringing souls back from other realms through a pentagon type seance is a good idea. Things of course don't go according to plan and so we get a hair metal bogan trying to adjust to modern life. Couple of nice touches of physical humour and a good grade to the film plus a nice comment on the frivolity of personal asset greed. However the story just never really became engaging due to unclear direction. Worked better as a back from the dead film than fish out of water (the actual genre) by a mile.

The Curse of That Damn Cat

An anthropomorphic black cat follows home Nicky Brick, leading to some pretty severe consequences. Well written dialogue and good awareness of the genre, with characters stressing just how unlucky it is for an animal such as this to cross your path and going to levels such as claiming they caused the economic crisis. A friendship develops and our Nicky seems fairly laissez-faire about the whole thing, but the negative things that happen to him do snowball and then we get a nifty little resolution; the actress who played Bloody Mary in particular impressive for the few seconds they were on screen. The whole thing was a little scatterbrain but it also made me long to ride those Croc carts/bicycles along the waterfront next time we have a sunny Sunday and I'm sober enough to get out of bed before 12.

Sims 3 Generation Expansion Pack

Verite home movie film-making on a $2 budget yes this was absolutely cringe and had an impressive amount of detail to the story as our lead showed how she grew up alone with a heavy drinking father and neglectful mother before finding the love of her life, and a blind dog randomly thrown in for good measure. Gonzo would probably be the best word to describe this, with crazy makeup for almost all cast members involved. It reminded me a bit of a warped version of TARNATION but from a plot point of view this was all over the place. I also get it, but am of 2 minds as to whether deliberately shooting this to look like a used vhs should be applauded when you've got other teams shooting on high-end cameras creating exceptional scope films, for example. But variety is the spice of life, hey, and this team did get a huge amount of laughs at the heat.

Oh Brother!

Went places I really did not expect it to, as a convenience store crush first of all starts very cutesy with the girl giving extremely heavy hints to the point of even directly asking the guy she likes out to the new local pizza place, only he has plans with someone you would very much not expect him to.

I love that you pulled the rug from under the carpet for us as viewers on more than one occassion. First of all with the shocking relevation of his nightly plans, and then showing how people can love anyone or anything ala JUMBO, only this time much smaller in scale, and more full of ink.

The fact that you were fully and I do mean fully committed to selling where you went is to be applauded.

A huge huge thing for me in 48 Hours is playing by the rules though, and whilst stock footage is ok if you have the rights, footage from one of the Lego Games/Movies as per 3m37-3m40 and 3m44-3m48 into the film most definitely would not have been. A real shame as it's personally a big downer to see that happen. Just be careful next time to make sure you have the rights to all the footage in your film.

But I don't want to end the review on a downer. Your performances were fantastic and comedy was gold. Well done.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Hydrangea

I genuinely cannot imagine how difficult it must be to get the same genre 2 years in a row in this competition, but mad props to Tasteful Sideboob for coming up with something incredibly unique and getting in back to back national finals with horror films on the back of this strongly directed tale of obsession driven by an insanely strong performance by Rosie Howell.

HYDRANGREA is genuinely a film that takes multiple watches to fully understand what is going on more deeply, with the use of colour and the titular flower presenting strong metaphors about isolation and love that works very strongly. At its core we have a lost soul ready to try anything to get over being spurned in her romantic attempts, where unusual therapy and an unlikely person adminstering the treatment leads to a uniquely awkward comical situation.

On that note the visuals were striking, with the self reflexive re-emergence of our lead's inner self absolutely startling. Everything was framed in a very cinematic manner, with a sure hand behind the camera adding subtle but noticeable touches like handheld footage as we followed our lead, putting us in her slightly unstable mind.

Through social media after first watch I said that the film was too quiet, and I straight up apologise for that because sound has been crystal clear on each subsequent watch, allowing the shimmering dreamy moments of electronic score to shine through, as well as the memorable moments of sound design such as the leaves crunching as the inner self came through in the pot.

Now coming back to the messages the film was presenting, I think using such a strong blue colour tone to the grading in the flashbacks to rejection was genius, because not only did it convey the cold feeling of rejection but also a feeling of isolation and loneliness, whilst at the same time maintaining the comic tone this team nails every year thanks to the bright pink sweater on display at the dramatic moment.

This was so brilliantly complimented by the red hues of our lead's centrally framed face in the therapy, which gives a sense of warmth, passion and love. So by having these 2 contrasting colours the audience knew of her hurt and despite her obsessive traits was rooting for the protagonist by the end, allowing the comic payoff to hit so hard and so well.

If I am to be critical, I think as much as I loved the subversive take on the genre, as a massive horror fan I do ask myself is this a scary take on the genre? To me it isn't at first glance, but on reflection it's one of the more "oh, shit" type of disturbing scenarios you could imagine, and I'm all about rewarding unique genre takes in this comp. Also irrespective of my personal opinion about the genre and whether being scary matters, the performance carried the film so admirably that it creates something that stays with you for a long time after the credits roll.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

A Weekend With Gazza

What if your uncle magically came back to life as a vacuum cleaner? Well that's where this team's headspace was for the weekend and I liked their 100% commitment to selling the idea. Some decent character development and links to family as our lead was shown to be a non-listener/person who kept to their headphones, until their smart-ass wisecracking uncle shows them how to stand up for themselves both against bullies and when it comes to women. Million dollar idea on a miniscule budget but a couple of fantastic jokes.

Bump In the Night

I assume sound design is an award again this year? Definite nominee right here in my book. We followed our protagonist through a pretty drab rundown looking Kilbirnie, which seemed to have splintered off into its own little society with the Kilbirnie Post newspaper, and a whole lot of chaos such as the main sportsfield now being "KILLbirnie park". Several people were missing on flyers in this chaotic vision of the future, but our lead had strong screen presence as he made his way home after having had to crash at a friend's for a while. Nice payoff that was reliant on sound, that earned its dues because the team had good sound like I said earlier! I loved the world building, I just wish there was a bit more in terms of plot to this one.

Hard To Peas

Placeholder review.

Bloody Mary

Placeholder review.

The Ooze

As a mysterious figure trudged along a rocky landscape with a briefcase clenched tightly, an air of intrigue was immediately developed in this cracking entry by Slime with tonal nods to ERASERHEAD and THE STUFF and yet very much its own thing. Played straight, and at the same time feeling like a completely different world the team explored what we will do as humans in order to survive.

Really classy saturation on show. I keep feeling the need to highlight teams who get black and white right, because most teams don't. What Slime achieved was an achingly affectionate love-letter to 1950s sci fi both in the choice to remove colour, but also by adding touches like a bunker and the worrying feeling of desolation so recurrent throughout Cold War films.

Do I need to talk about the incredibly strange plotline? Without giving anything away of course I do. The man in the ooze being ready to rize, and how his recipe will present a resurrection was just absolutely bonkers. Was the harvest for his good or for our lead actress to help her continue in this cold harsh world? I have so many questions but not in a confused way, I loved how open-ended you made things here. Leaving things open to the audience is a massive plus if done right.

The soundscape was interesting to say the least. I feel it could have used a little bit more punch but it was otherworldly and weird and meant a consistent tone was created.

The repetition of the rocky cliff shots I could take or leave, but it takes a lot of craft to show restraint in your 48 Hours pacing and still deliver the goods. This is a film that took its time and very much left a lasting impression. Strange in all the best possible ways.

Performances strong, the only thing that got a few marks down for me would be if the box was strongly ticked enough for a reluctant/unlikely/antihero.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Fruit Punch

Always wanting to do a good deed, our lead David (NOT Dave) helps someone get into their house that they have been locked out of, although when the person they helped get in starts smashing things up they give it a second thought. This team made a pretty huge goddam mess of whichever house they filmed at, but it was pretty deliriously good fun. Good chemistry between the two leads, as they captured the awkwardness of meeting someone you like for the first time very well.

Along for the Ride

A down to earth uber driver takes a woman to see her boyfriend when she has come for a surprise weekend visit, only the one getting a surprise is not him, and the shock is not a good one for her. Whilst stuck in the 'burbs luckily he sticks around to keep driving. Only she doesn't hop back on the train she has come from, surprise surprise. The dialogue interplay between the performers was well delivered, and I liked the variety of coverage despite the LOCKE inspired inside-a-car setting. Given the charm and fact this was technically good I'm giving this positive marks, although it was a bit formulaic in terms of plot.

The Wind in your Heart

Well this team certainly took the required wind element and ran with it, hard, with a very "Wellington" film. Huge audience laughs as a couple of omnipresent beings who controlled the weather worked to keep Wellington windy, much to the chagrin of metservice. Given it was a father and son duo creating the blusts this certainly met the coming of age challenge, as well as being one of the best nature run amok films in Wellington so far this year. Really low budget effects but the matte work to create the heads in the sky was at least super clean, and I loved that you got outside on the weekend and went hammer and tongs for it. The metservice jokes were the absolute gold part of the film, with the deadpan 2 days accurate record drawing some of the biggest laughs of the night. Would expect to see this on the shortlist. My main gripes would be that the comedy is probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea given just how silly it is, and the cinematography was servicable at best, although the hyper energy of the film made up for that.

Wheel Love

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Go! 6.9 which followed immediately before at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

Super Scam

Exploding onto screen with a BLAM! and a WHAM! Things get quickly focused onto a call centre where heroes super problems are the operator's super concerns. From colour blindness to the big green dude struggling to come out for a 'hulkish' hero, the team ran the gammut of first world problems that those seeking truth and justice might theoretically encounter.

The operator here gave a star turn as a seemingly disinterested customer service rep, although Bat Guy upped the stakes with quips on cryptocurrency and his personal living situation.

Shot with a professional quality, the colour palette produced by your art department, the performances, and satirical script were the highlights. For me I found the plot a little hard to engage with, because whilst the issues faced were particularly humorous and cleverly gave the superhero film a human element, it felt a bit one sided in that we were told jokes but didn't really get too much from themt in terms of a story progression point of view. This was almost doubled down by the jokes being told over the phone providing even more distance for me as a viewer to the characters.

I'll admit the ending was reasonably well done and provided a bombastic comic tone to round things off, though.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Pour Moi

Technically super smoothe, acting performances fantastic and a brilliant take on a difficult genre as our lead was immobilised for hours in an attempt to woo the girl of his dreams. The sound levels peaked a bit high a couple of times but those are minor quibbles. I won’t give too much away but art and pills and provocateurs really do work well on screen together.

The Thief and the Three Gifts

Richard Falkner you are a legend, and irrespective of whether this film was ineligible/recused/disqualified it is still very cool that you made a highly entertaining 48Hours film on the weekend, and please let your son know that I thought he did an absolutely fantastic job acting!

Superbly shot, looking like it was shot in the 1970s at Shaw Brothers on 16mm film, the film tells the tale of a self-congratulatory thief who kisses a chalice and declares he is the greatest thief that has ever lived, only for a knock at the door to come and his preconception to be challenged through the course of the rest of the film.

It is really hard to deny just how strong a three act structure makes a 48 Hours film almost by default. It's something that doesn't come naturally to a lot of people, but if you put it in your script then everything just flows so smoothly. Richard knows that and by going with a concept of "3 Gifts" allowed the film to ebb, flow and develop really organically once the required invitation (to cover genre bases) had been received.

When the ninja turns up and the VFX kicks in = so good. And leading to a tale of redemption = great!

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

25 Minutes

Mostly based on a true story apparently, our lead has 25 minutes to get his IVF specimen to the clinic because he chooses to go with the do it at home approach to save on the $80 it costs if you wish to rub out your specimen in nicer surroundings. Of course a tale of things getting in the way, in particularly their fellow Xbox playing flatmate who has a very relaxed attitude about the whole thing. What would a good action movie be without a ninja, too? And what would a good ninja fight be without it being against a pirate? Some of the little random acts were really well done but the lighthearted tone meant that it did not have too much actual action.

Leafal Interests

A one-shot mockumentary which usually earns my ire but this fell in line well with the required elements rather than shoe horning them in. A focus on the 8th episode of a show regarding over zealous leaf collectors in search of rare shrubbery gave had all the actors hit their marks, had a beginning middle and end and got some good audience laughs especially the strong boyfriend taking offence to thinking our female lead was checking out his "missus". Taking a show and giving it the feeling that ordinary people wouldn't just turn tricks for the camera was well conveyed.

Cheernobyl: A Holiday Meltdown

After clicking on a 'win the holiday of your dreams' link that isn't spam, but the VR opportunity of a lifetime, our lead very much gets more than her bargained for when it turns out that all holidays in the world rolled into one is actually a bit nightmarish. Outstanding costume design and while the set was minimal in scope the editing was on point, leading to a claustrophobic tense effect that reflected the lead being trapped in a virtual world headset while the Easter-birthday-Xmas-chicken legged monster got up in his grill. Pretty batshit really, and definitely one of the best uses of the holiday genre this year. I liked the oneiric feel on show here, with a what the fuck feel in buckets. I also appreciated the plot having a well structured beginning, (overwhelming) middle and end, and I'm assuming that the attack on the senses was very much the team's intention. I can see why this didn't make the Christchurch finals though, out of nowhere murders are something that judges I know are completely over. However the film's proper finale was very satisfying indeed.

An invitation to eternity

A technically really strong film, with excellent camerawork, editing, lighting and in particular incredibly strong sound design, that presented a slightly abstract tale of inviting oneself to save humanity. Very much verging into the sci fi realm over the assigned genre, but it is hard to take away from how beautiful the film ended up being.

Having been invited to his future new home and given an enternity key, a young boy then interacts with a HER-like interface in 'E.T.I' where he is given a series of timeline tasks to analyse and solve. But staying on track for his quests proves more difficult than expected for our protagonist.

I did really enjoy the meta moments and surreal weird tone of proceedings, but similar to Time Saver by Pie Face in Christchurch, the overall presentation of the film ultimately felt like style over substance, though I will grant you a strong ending did pull things together well, for mine. A stronger, clearer story and you would have been contending at the very least in Taranaki, if not higher up.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Jack & Jill

A friend sets up their friend with a psychiatrist to help them with their supposed agorophobia. Not a lot to this one, although I guess it captured the awkwardness of dating well enough.

Sammy

Good contender for best actress in Wellington from this film, as a mother who has lost her son brings home the boy who hosted the party where he died. Quite an intense film, the script was engaging and feedback between the two actors was top class. The only thing I felt let it down was the ending, which seemed a bit rushed and didn't have the emotional strength that the vocal exchange did earlier in the film.

It's a Dog's Life

The film is shown from a dog's perspective initiallly first person and it really does make you feel sympathetic towards them, as their owner inadvertedly neglects them. Of course we realise this is just reality in their rush to work etc. but luckily their actually is some inspirational stuff in this film when said owner has time to spend with their beloved pet. A nice little fence joke really made the film for me

Accessories Not Included

At a disco, our leading man Kenny has collapsed topless at the bar and whilst initially putting on a brave face, lets his best mate know that he is scared shitless for his upcoming wedding to Barb because of not having done the deed yet. As to why? Well that would be giving the game away, but he needs things to happen before "Heartbeat!" and fast.

But with issues downstairs, this Frodo without the Baggins needs to find a way to get his strings pulled for the sake of his relationship and manhood.

The avoidance of the issue through flashback was particularly well put together, such as dance floor avoidance and simply taking up the small spoon position after rounding a few more bases than normal. I think making fun of small spooning was a little bit iffy myself, but the whole film was very playful and it wasn't done in a particularly mean way at all.

In fact, whilst the glaringly obvious issue of attacking someone's manhood would have been a massive red flag, this film was anything but that. Simply superb conclusion that pieced together all the slightly strange world building that had developed up to that point. Your lead actor surely must be up for best performer consideration. Edit so slick too. Lighting was really good generally which was important with the disco setting, but a handful of scenes were not quite perfect would be my only technical gripe.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

THAT THING

What's this doing not in the Auckland final? Must be a banner year! Short, sweet, sick tale of family acceptance no matter how alien a child's traits may (literally) be as a newborn really seemed to come from another world, complete with glass-piercing growls, accordion bookends and seemingly problematic fire vomit . Huge Lee Hardcastle vibes but with emotional warmth and the comforting tone of a well-told children's story book. I loved the measured clear diction of the storyteller's voice over and the unwavering approach to the vocals strengthened the metaphor in my book to be unconditional in your love for your family. The vibrancy in the colour palette also helped this stand out from the crowd a lot. Animation where present was great this would have got full marks from me with just a smidgeon more movement to the film. Awesome work though!

A Walk to Dismember

Lo-fi FRANKENSTEIN in reverse where our lead was prone to dismemberment and re-attachment of missing limbs was at the top of his list in life, at any cost. Very much embodied the BAD TASTE guerilla approach that inspired the genre with a commanding performance by the man with missing limbs. Exceedingly poor though to show your computer screen having "EZTV Torrents" links, but I'll forgive you for the entertainment and also having fucking amazing songs. Can only wonder what would have happened if you got musical!

Daylight Horror

Walked in on the end of this one which had some good toilet humour and fencing on show, with strong audience laughter. Will update the review once I see the full film but liked what I saw. Edit: this team is behaving atrociously. Had given the film a 7/10 based on what I had seen which made me laugh, but now cannot fathom giving it a positive rating of any kind. Behaviour will be brought to judge's attention, probably the school's if it continues.

Playback

Priests and churches sure seem to be popular this year. We get told/shown the story of a camera documenting someone having a fairly wild weekend. How they came to acquire said camera however provides a good story point. It must be a bit frustrating to clearly have some quality HD gear and then get this genre, as the time off the low budget camera was fairly crisp indeed on screen. Anyway lipstick on the forehead, seduction at a poolhall, the aftermath of a party and confessions at a church all get good screen time.

State Highway Death - Turn Right For Murder

After being bullied at school, Bobby Young goes on a road trip to New Zealand to kill all of her previous tormenters. Well, at least on the map she does, as 'Auckland' being followed by turning off the motorway onto Thorndon was greeted with some pretty massive audience laughs. Pretty unoriginal, but some good one-liners. "You do have the time, hammer time!"

The Hand That Feeds

Very impressive sound design indeed, and a creepy as hell sound track had the audience genuinely squirming in their seats which is everything you'd want from a horror film that bravely played it straight and did not go for laughs. Reliance on mood and tension had my attention as a cursed loaf of bread caused our lead actress some high levels of grief whilst she tried to keep her daily life in order. The main things letting the film down were a lack of a polish from a cinematography point of view, and the curse afflicting hobo was a bit off in his performance tone. However I was able to overlook that and found that your strong lead actress and disturbing nightmarish soundtrack really knocked me over. Well done.

Light Reading

Yeah really good camerawork here involving a wide variety of shots that created tension and mood for the studying student struggling to focus but being stalked, unbeknownst to him. Really satisfying given how well the scholar was projected as a dickhead who didn't care much for library rules. Sound design was on point and editing was crisp. Short and sweet with a final shot that made me envious at your skills which is always a great sign. I noted a couple of camera shots early on that were slightly shaky but everything else was rock solid. Less is more in the best possible way.

Crawlspace

Now this was a lot of fun. A would be DIY plumber father tries his luck fixing the drains under the house, ignoring the warnings of his daughter whilst his wife and her friends get boozed. There have been a few complaints about the projection darkness levels at Vic this year, but I just have to point out that this one looked fantastic given that the team clearly went to great efforts to shoot under a real house. It wouldn't have been a Squidwig Production without some physical special effects, and this year they looked great.

Crossroads

Shot in black and white, from what I gather to give the impression that everything we do is 50/50 in terms of our choices? Seemed to have an alien sent down to present doors to dimensions that showed everything we do is just a big gamble and linked to the cinematography being a metaphorical allegory of this. I might have it all wrong but the rest of my team was also confused by the whole short.

Mother's Day

[DQ] Interviewees give their take on a daycare centre teacher who was a bit too endearing to the children, making them more than jealous when the annual celebration of motherhood rolls around. At the start I saw this going in several ways so it was quite engaging, but on the other hands I’m really not a fan of talking heads in 48 Hours. The sinister levels built throughout, although the ending was quite abrupt.

Parallel Lines

Another team that wasted 30 seconds to establish a character waking up/going through their morning routine (yawn). Could have established that we were looking at a parking warden a lot quicker than that without compromising the story at all. Off for his daily quota, he is one of the nasty wardens who will get you even if you park in the wrong area for 2 minutes. A parallel story runs as a group of crooks prepare to pull of a heist and a quick getaway only their fates are set to intertwine with the council employee. Due to the editing and confusion over who got clamped (the cop or the robbers?) the film's big dramatic moment lost its impact unfortunately. I know there was also a twist but the editing meant this was also not clear either. A bit strange as the film was entirely clear in structure and working towards a nice payoff until the final 30 seconds.

The Immortal

A rare historically (1862) set film in 48 Hours that actually felt like you were in the time and place, and a strong example of how to do black and white the 'right' way. Whilst many teams might click apply black and white in premiere, Desert Walk used strong lighting and exceptional understanding of shadows to make a bold cinematography statement. Even the outfits perfectly suited the choice, with inky blacks and crisp whites of masks, jackets and shirts offering striking contrast and seering images for the viewer.

The camerawork was also smooth, with a superb opening shot, and the editing made the right cuts at the right times for the material that was present.

I bought into your story myself, as we were kept on the edge of our boat not knowing whether The Immortal who had abandoned his pirate ship under siege was bluffing or not to his gun holding captor, and the ending reminded me of Twin Peaks in a good way.

Having said that, I do feel that the film lost steam after the fantastic opening, with the dialogue potentially needing some trimming to leave some more intrigue for the viewer. The very final shot on the other hand probably could have actually been shown for more punch than the sound effect after the competition credit.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Heir of the Taeral

Have you seen EVILSPEAK? Because holy moly I was getting mad vibes of that Clint Howard personal favourite here! Some really cool set design work, and handled the Ultra darkness requirement really well with candles lighting the way, although this did result in considerable grain at times.

With a foreboding tone, and set across 300 years, this had a vibe of doom where you knew that something would go wrong given it opened with hands dripping in blood followed by strangulation, and later a warning not to touch the wrong ancient object or a trapped demon could be unleashed, but with an ultimatum of ending chaos and suffering, something had to give.

I genuinely loved the feel of the film, and if that actually was an Evilspeak homage then you can bump up your grade in my heart by a point. I did find the plotline a little jumbled, and felt slightly more could have been done to differentiate the timelines, with the conclusion to the film feeling not nearly as strong as the buildup in my book. Also whilst I loved the overall feeling presented here, it was hard for me to ignore the particularly grainy footage and framing that at times meant I felt it was hard as a viewer as to where I should focus my attention.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

13 going on 14

The tale of a an awkward 14th birthday, with a cringey mum who gets things a bit wrong (veggies at the party, providing a book about reproduction to her son bizarrely late?) and three in your face energised friends who don't seem to have come close to hitting puberty like our lead has. Finger spinners, hamburger slippers and joke books for children seem a bit out of place to say the least for presents. Well, at least until one of them confidently and aggressively asks a girl out by the river and takes her off hand in hand despite weirding her out, in a slice of action that definitely feels like its own tale. I liked the positive energy on show here, and whilst I'm not the biggest proponent for flinging the camera around I'd advice to utilise some motion to match movement inside your framing, as this will engage the viewer by directing our focus. I would also recommend mixing up your camera angles as this is the biggest advantage a film medium can give you. For example utilisation of close ups would have driven the point home as to who was made to feel awkward (assumedly the lead) but by keeping the camera long it avoided the cringe comedy aspect and just made the action on screen as cringe. I hate to be overly critical but it seemed like having almost everything recorded through long shots meant the camera was a bit far away for recording audio, creating a slightly echoey effect to the sound. If the camera was closer it would have also allowed cleaner sound (or else an external mic will also be of huge benefit). I did enjoy the energy and liked that you got outside to shoot! But due to the technical limitations and lack of clear storyline I've unfortunately given my low rating. Sorry :(

Climb

A lot better take on the genre than most of the adult efforts I have seen so far this year, again with a solid script, good pacing and performances and even a really nice twist that actually created the inspiration I was searching for. New workout routine sounds good to our lead actress, who trains rigorously to overcome a personal challenge of climbing a tree that may seem quite straight forward but we actually realise is quite impressive given the situation. Nice workout montage, good little story.

Love In Bloom

Hey Southern Belles, I'm not a judge but I was utterly perplexed by the press conference footage of Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield that wasn't just incidental but in fact the key driver for the plot of the film, as our lead actress really got obsessed with our Director-General of Health.

Like to the point of checking out during the heat screening is the level of bewilderment I was at. I appreciate you crediting all sources, and I'm not trying to be a stickler for rules, I was just genuinely wide eyed and shocked that this footage supposedly got clearance for a commercial film competition.

Now after checking out in the heats I've watched this again now and that was a fantastic performance by Rhiannon McCall and well edited as her obsession grew and grew. Loved the cameo by Hamish Parkinson in the end too.

Topical films are always of course pretty common in 48 Hours so whilst you stood out from the pack, I wish wish wish it had been without all that pre-existing footage.

If I'm wrong here and that was all fair game for a commercial film comp then please accept my apologies for bringing so much attention to it.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Day None

Serious in tone and played with believable authenticity this established a sparse barely inhabited Wellington through quality drone camera work where I honestly don't remember any giveaways like lights being on as well as impressive costuming and set design. With the world set this was well acted mainly in a bunker as a couple of survivalists shared their tales of getting through, and opened up knowing it was unlikely they'd see another person ever again. The radio announcement that the world was coming to an end was a nice touch but could have been made a bit clearer because it was hard to make out all the details. I noted "captivating" on my pad I base these reviews on, and I'll stick to that. Lighting here was out of this world good. Cool vfx to conclude, I do however wish the team had added a bit more originality to their story.

Food for Thought

Really strong performance by the lead actress here as she addresses all her flatmates and why she has gathered them in the garden; to show them the heinous nature of their crimes.

With a flashback structure we get to see such horrific activities as popcorn dropped on the couch and regathered, a toothbrush slipping out when used as a microphone to heavy metal music and chip dip sloshed back into the bowl after a spill. The comedic payoffs coming not from the drop of the item, but how they are eaten or used once returned to the butterfingers.

The audio was nice and clear and delivery was really strong, though there were a couple of very strong peaks, but that may have just been my sound system. For a film with detailed dialogue it is crucial to be able to hear, so well done there.

Costuming was strong with each character clearly defined by their outfits, a smart move given only our lead was really defined by her actions. And what a disgusting finale action it was!

I liked how you didn't actually mention the punchline until the end. As obvious as it seems now this was a smart thing to restrain to give the finale some more weight.

My biggest concern with the film, is that despite the stellar performance, the lack of interaction with other cast members other than to quickly go to flashback meant that it came across as her talking to us rather than engaging cinema. But this was almost completely overcome in the final 60 seconds when the more personal backstory was revealed to give everything some gravitas for the payoff.

Again a film where my arbitrary grades should have "performances" and yours would do very very well in that regard, so take my scores with a grain of salt.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Skuxx Dogs 4 Life

Given a much-needed job of delivering a package, a couple of BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD types lazily make their way to the spot to avoid being followed. A very cruisy and casual observation of slob life with our protagonists having CVs that highlighted tagging and public urination as their main skills.

There were definitely a couple of gross moments from the shambles of the apartment to the huge spray sneeze on the car window and...yep, that's a penis. Thanks guys.

Funny at times for sure, but the audio was very inconsistent with multiple peaks and pops throughout and I felt the edit was a little bit jumpy. Whilst consistent in tone with a SLACKER/JAY AND SILENT BOB approach, I felt the ending did not really give much of a resolution either. Your actors were good though, so well done to them.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Pixel Dream Girl

Sick burn here on app-based dating, and the many challenges that it generates by deciding a romantic fate through swiping left or right. I was thoroughly impressed by how well Squint Eastwood rapid-fired the douche canoes that plague the likes of tinder, with nobody safe whether it be the boring 'interests = movies' guy, through toxic ab showing MGTOWS and running the gauntlet through to the desperate bit too old creep. Really well done integration of split screen too, utilising the phone for the Ultra requirement whilst our pierced and tattooed dream girl for many lamented not finding the one for her. So like story wise this had a great setup, and the pastel bright colours are always a massive breath of fresh air, the inimitable animation of Sam Harris something to behold and honestly the music was catchy as hell (A++ for the blazing autotone finish)...I was just personally struggling to resonate with this as a cohesive story. Great opening act, strong finish, but the glue of the middle piece when the rejected creep went too far just took me out of it a bit. I understand it was probably supposed to make people feel uneasy and you nailed that aspect, and that's not why I'm critical here, I just think it created a variation in the mis en scene of the whole film that felt a bit confusing by the end, when it started so amazingly well with the subversive topical approach to love.

Random Access Memories

Goddamit, 2 films in the same heat with murderous stabby endings! I'm sorry for spoiling this but as a resolution in this competition that is just a shitty way to end things. And honestly it was a damn shame because up until that point I was enjoying your film a hell of a lot and you had in my opinion made a much better film than your film that got to the national final last year. Script was really good here as a dishy in a restaurant used new sci fi technology while lying awake in bed at night to deal with the horrendous treatment from his boss. It was relatable for sure for anyone who has ever suffered under poor management or workplace bullying, with lots of laughs and guffaws in the cinema when the fantastical comebacks where pronounced. Your lead actor and his boss both had commanding screen presence, and I really liked how you were able to get such clean coverage with your camera within the small confines of the back of the restaurant. Sound and sound design was also crisp. Just so frustrating that you went with that cop out finale.

Āta

Ok, so I think I'm genuinely over my head here and absolutely wish my understanding of Te Reo was a whole lot better than it is.

I was absolutely intrigued by what the title of this short was meaning, and online my search results took my to the anzsw journal, with an article defining Āta as "the principle of growing respectful relationships, specifically for the social services as a transformative approach for Kaupapa Māori initiatives. It is about building and looking after relationships and can support practitioners with understanding relationships and well-being when interacting with Māori. Pōhatu advances the argument that cultural underpinnings of whenua and whakapapa are imperative to ensure cultural transmission and acquisition.
Āta has been described by Pōhatu (2005) as a key element of ngā take pū (principles) and is seen as a ‘behavioural and theoretical strategy’ for building and maintaining relationships."

Impressively deep especially after viewing the hypnotic short, which seemed to be a subversive take on the horror genre, with warp speed recollections of history and betrayal towards Māori through the horror of western colonisation.

The film started slow, an etched black and white stick figure walking towards a cliff before they pressed a button and the world was inverted with the viewer thrown down the horrible gauntlet of history. Some absolutely striking imagery, with the morphs and transformations being unbelievabily smooth. Sound design was also excellent.

It's a heavy film covering important ground. Hard to mark down the story at all. Brave to tell everything visually and not use any scripted dialogue. I liked it a lot, and think that risk taking should be rewarded in this comp.

Main issue and it's kind of a glaring one in my book, is character development or lack thereof. I'm to be honest on the fence whether the box of the required character was even ticked. Not through subversion or an unusual take on the character, but to me they were literally just a body on screen that then allowed the 'horror' to unfold. I have no skin in the game, I didn't enter and am not a judge, I loved your film, but that is what dragged it down slightly for me.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 4/5

Apollo 69

Man I don't have too many notes here because I put my pen down pretty quickly and just watched in awe as this beautiful film took over my retinas and brain cells. Easily the most amazing use of stock footage we've seen in the comp so far, and in conjunction with an incredibly pieced together space station given the time constraints, it genuinely felt like we were up there in outer space, running the gamut of emotions that our lead actor did due to loneliness, despite his AI friend DQ's best intentions. Imminent self destruction allowed for imminent self introspection and the most unlikely of connections. Fantastic subversion of genre. Gold use of split screen throughout, driving rather than hindering the story in any way, you finish watching immediately wondering when you can see it again. Answer = Wellington final no doubt, and probably national final too. For those wondering, yes Tim Hamilton dropped the meta 48Hour approach and yes he absolutely delivered the goods, helped in part by a terrific lead actor and one of the most beautiful music scores I've heard composed for the competition by Liam Reid. Literally note perfect. The required 4th wall break also put a huge grin on my face even if took me out of the moment for half a second. Honestly the sort of film that I live for in this comp. So good.

Beans and Frank.

Three Hawaiian shirt-wearing crims on a getaway struggle to deal with the fact that one of them has been shot and really needs a doctor. Camera was decent, script was working well and performances were engaging. But that ending....like the flattening of a balloon in all its cold mean spirited cliched predictability. Ruined the film for me.

The Invisible Woman

Sometimes the best 48 Hours films are just a simple idea, executed to perfection and Fabled Motion Pictures delivered an instant classic here driven by an absolutely sensational performance by our lead actor. A hopeless romantic with an open heart and soul shows that love truly is blind with a pitch perfect date where the connection is based on what he feels rather than what he sees.

Upon arriving at the date and his tinder match not being quite what he thought she would be, her pictures being a little bit misleading, the fact it took him 40 minutes to get there and wears his heart on his sleeve means he decides to give love a chance. The tone is set and whilst he may not know much about science like Daisy does, they both love to dance and have a drink, and form an instant connection.

What a charming film. I never once was taken out of a suspension of disbelief of a frankly ridiculous concept, but one that nailed the invisibility element literally better than any other team so far this year.

Fantastic location, fantastic performance, which I keep saying, but the development from nerves to slipping in the tongue to plucking up the courage to say how he really felt only for THAT ending to be sold so well. Wow.

I loved that you were so assured in the direction of your film. This was not a film with great sweeping camera movements or fast cuts. It was leisurely paced and observational, putting us in a relatable position as viewers in comparsion to the protagonists. With a relatable universal subject matter being handled so well, it also brought the house down with the 40 or so people I watched this with at the heat screening. Brilliant.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Bufo

Yuss more puppets. And I'll tell you what, if you read the instructions given for Urban Legend on the 48hours website this was actually one that came closest to what the organisers were looking for in their description. The team took a well known urban legend (licking a frog will make you trip balls) only they told it almost entirely visually rather than relying on a Captain Exposition or 2 to establish their legend like most teams. Having tripped out our lead puppet/actor enjoys some scattered flashing leaves in his vision, is treated to some saxophone in the forest and finally gets transported to the human world. Ok so the setup was fantastic based on the genre requirements and the rest of the film was a little thin plotwise but it was still enjoyable.

Hairmonal Creatures

Big big werewolf fan here, and SkooterMan Pictures have improved yet again with a ravishing understated kiwi tale of lycanthropy. In a nutshell a trip to the doctor for monthly sleep deprivation and cramps that happens on oh around so each full moon leads to the realisation that our lead may be cursed like Michael J Fox in 1985. Mad props to the actor who shaved their impressive beard for the part! I'm also impressed that you took one of last year's main flaws (lighting) and ensured that all your footage was crisp and bright. And fuck me I looove some practical effects so I have to say the transformation hair ripping through the suits was sensational. I think this will go close to shortlist, + would have been a real contender for best incredibly strange if that was still an award, though the main thing holding it back just a teensy bit were a handful of jumpy edits here and there in the doctor's office. Nevertheless there were other technical aspects that shined from a cinematography point of view, with the pair of werewolves ambling around and howling in unison being a particular highlight.

Three-By-Three

A dagger, skull and necklace must be collected within 3 minutes or our protagonist will be lost in the timeline of her quest through medieval times to the 1920s.

Here we had a relatively simple story done effectively with assured performances and direction. Personally I feel that this sort of structure is something that many teams would be begging for when plotting their films at 4am on the Saturday morning of the competition. It gaves a natural pacing to proceedings and allows a clear beginning, middle and end to the film, though this team made a couple of nice adjustments because of their time travel mechanic to avoid being labeled as generic.

Costuming was really good. I particularly liked the attention to detail for the 1920s actress, whilst I could tell that the medieval knight was clearly having a lot of fun on set portraying a brave and stoic defender of his family heirloom.

Good clear sound was also on hand here and so overall it was a good short film. My main issue is that the film whilst not being exactly generic came across as a bit plain in terms of storyline.
I felt that a lot more could have been done to emphasise the threat of being stuck in the previous timeline because to be honest the way it played made it seem like all 3 eras she traveled to were relatively nice places. Albeit with sample sizes of 1 character per era but nevertheless it never really felt like the stakes were very worrying. But just to me there was a missed opportuntiy for character development in terms of the present she was supposedly so desperate to stay in and what drove her in her current life.

I also had slight eyebrows raised at the ending. It felt like a nice 'oh shit' suprise at the time, but on reflection it was kind of a bit throwaway. Was it meant to be a commentary on how we do work without question? Slave to the wage etc? Or that actually she would have been better off in the past? Arguably open ended but I feel like the film would have benefited from a clearer ending myself.

But as this was technically sound and well acted it gets positive marks from me.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Exorcise And Subscribe

With jibes at real estate agents and the folley of content creators, Pinky and the Brain made a really creative haunted by a ghost film, where even a call to the local police won't do the trick.

I really liked the camerawork and editing here first of all. I think you did a terrific job making the film look cinematic in a suburban house which is usually the death knell for 48 Hours entries, but instead the self aware nature of the short allowed our focus to be moved to the really strong story on display.

Performances were strong, both by the unlucky man whose newly acquired antique clock unleashes hell and how he frantically tries one exorcising advice tip after the other, and the woman playing the demon, who was an excellent deadpan folley.

The big thing that let the film down were some considerable audio spikes and pops. Also whilst I absolutely loved the comedy with lots of laughs, I just felt like the stakes could have been raised a little bit higher. We know she's a demon, yes, but an implication of impending death or doom or torment, or even showing what she was capable of and why the possession had to stop would have elevated the short more in my opinion. Nice payoff, though.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

It's Always Night In Space

Superbly acted, the film nailed the concept of a urban legend where it is possible to give a slightly different tale of events based on whatever hearsay the storyteller has heard. Set in a lecture theatre, a list of possible discoveries, motives and ways Nicky Brick was killed at an observatory in 1971 are well examined. Some say he saw a giant meteor, others that there was a conspiracy to kill him and yet a different take is that it was suicide. Our lecturer of course provides the calming hand to our students' wild speculations. Some sweet visual touches and completely engaging.

The Path

My first key point of advice to this team is to be really careful about avoiding getting wind distortion on your audio soundtrack. It is very distracting, and whilst field sound is great if you can get it clean, I would recommend doing ADR for anything where gusts were captured on your takes.

Now onto the film itself, where the locations and outfits were fantastic. A reluctant guest really threw a knife wielding cat amongst the pigeons in the woods here as a boy needing help got the 'help' he needed.

I felt the team tried to present an eery approach to proceedings, with a deliberate approach to proceedings in the deep dark woods and making the invite itself ambiguous but clearly important.

Now murderous black comedy can be grand. VERY BAD THINGS is for example one of my favourite films. But you need to earn the right to put the audience on side for dark acts. With some of the actions taken here jarring through by character actions and edits, it meant it was hard to feel any connection to proceedings because unclear motivation meant mean spirited resolutions and therefore the film played as bleak at its key moments. Promising in tone though.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Dual Bakers

Pun-filled bread fighting low budget fx love triangle buffoonery. The kitchen sink and its bakery replacement were thrown at the screen here as two buddies bickered and argued about their bakery and the woman they loved. The jokes ranged from absolutely awful to absolutely brilliant, and the final showdown with bunchucks vs a French bread sword stick was great. I would recommend working on your camera work given this was largely very static medium to long shots throughout, and is something that can also be used as a great film making device to tell a story, whereas the reliance on dialogue exposition did become a little tedious. Very fun though.

The Sunnybrook Diaries

First animation this year? Not sure what's happened as we used to get close to 10 most years in Wellington. Found footage at that which was quite an interesting take on the genre I must say. We focused on the work of a Doctor at a mental asylum, in particular the effects of playing repetitive children's music for hours on ends to patients who were already at least a bit unstable. Short and sweet this didn't overstay its welcome by any stretch of the imagination. I liked where it cut off as open-ended is probably the perfect way to resolve a film in this genre.

Crossfire

Demon-hunting men of the cloth struggle to come to terms with the fact that the so called evil spirits they identify are nothing more than bums and pregnant women, so turn to their own alcoholic spirits for guidance. Some really great comedic beats such as the fingers coming together, but the sound was let down in a few places. I also understand that you may have deemed hunters to fit your genre bill, but the whole concept of Cat and Mouse is that it is a push and pull/2 way concept and to me the Demons just never gave the idea of being ahead in the chase. Basically you made a good buddy film but not a great Cat and Mouse film.

The Milkman

What are you going to do when you actors abandon ship in 48 Hours? Bring out the dolls and toys! I've done it myself in 2011 (see: Double Cowabunga, by Disco Vampire & Friends, or not...lol) but here Nitro made a super seedy and in my opinion hilarious Cabbage Patch Kids tale of double entendre as The Milkman always delivers the goods!

After gran has died our young protagonist gets educated by their father about how people go to Heaven. From here the curious lad notices how mum spends a lot of time with the local Anchor delivery man, often very late at night and always when dad is not in the picture leading to a fantastic payoff.

Look this is a 'had to be there' type film that more than any other made me wish we had cinema heat screenings this year but it is what it is. I was lucky enough to see it with about 40 other people in person and it absolutely brought the house down with laughter and 'oh my god' loud reactions. A couple of other people I've spoken to who did not see it with a crowd weren't such big fans, and that's ok!

I though the puppetry was really well done for the most part. A hand noticed here and there, sure, but movements were good. The framing was really good, edit smooth and voice work particularly strong to produce the array of characters. Whilst I liked the distinctive Cabbies, the one thing with these dolls that reduced their humanistic touch is they don't have moving mouths, but again I commend you big time for working with what you had. Especially given you also took on Ultra.

The best thing about this was for mine the comedy. It just kept going and going with the seedy milkman jokes to the point that nobody should ever think about using cream/milk analogy jokes in 48 Hours ever again. Not everyone's cup of milk, but I think this is the funniest short Nitro have ever made in the comp. Ratings are high as personal enjoyment was very high. Thanks Tim.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

ACES

In a way this could have been construed as a returning vet film, given that most of the film was fire and duck/run military action in the woods with the contrast bumped way up on the images presented. Not a lot else happened, and could have benefited with some originality. I also think your final plot point could have been developed or mixed in earlier.

The Interview

An old hand, a sword obsessed younger man, and a woman whose definition of "disposal expert" differs just a tad compared to the norm all answer the call to a flyer with a number for a job.

Essentially a satire of the cutthroat job market, this was very stabby and murderous. To me it felt like portraying the guy with the sword and the woman as almost silent figures was a mistake, because it robbed them of any characterisation and motivation for their actions. Instead it seemed like the team was going for a 'the job market is killer' parody, and it just didn't really raise any laughs for me personally because the deaths had no impact.

I liked the screen presence of the boss doing the hiring. I honestly just wish the script had been developed more in order to make me feel more involved as a viewer.

p.s. where was the anti/reluctant/unlikely hero? The woman didn't qualify in my opinion as she was just murderous. Oh well.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 1/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Night Terrors

Oneiric tale of a lonely girl's struggles with sleep, where visages dripping with neon hues and a killer synth soundtrack really captured a dreamy tone and made us as viewers question what was real.

I liked how the team took a show don't tell approach to key plot elements, such as the sleep journal, and the lead actress sold her narcolepsy well on screen. The humour was sardonic yet socially conscious and brought a smile to my face.

The lighting was indeed absolutely fantastic, and whilst watching at home I noticed a handful of shots ever so slightly out of focus, this was balanced out by the atmopshere that the overall mis en scene generated.

In terms of areas of the film where I felt it could have slightly improved, whilst I found the comedy amusing, some was a little crude and felt like a tonal shift (eg, "I'm going to go jack off"). Also the ending was not quite a home run to me, but I may have been wrong in my intepretation and if it was meant to reframe how we looked at the prior events then that is actually a positive.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Cunniffe

From what I gathered, Vic Meyer visited a Tarot Card reader with the intention of curing his woes of being unable to sleep. As each card was presented, the description was then backed up on screen eg, financial troubles. I think you needed to explain what a cunniffe is, because that appeared to be a key plot point which was lost on the audience (I talked to several people). The warm colour scheme was nice at times, but there were also a couple of tech glitches such a director sound remaining in used takes for the final film.

Vic TV

Some super strong sleeping pills pull Vic right into a television where he bounces around between channels with the same nemesis in each. Cooking/Infomercials/Religious/Kids TV were about it. Being whisked away to a parallel or alternate world is a great setup for a non dialogue film, but I would have stayed well away from somewhere that is arguably 50% driven by dialogue like TV. It got tedious.

Add to Story

Mostly shot as vertical cinema from a phone POV/found footage approach as freshly turned 18 year old lads venture into town for the first time on the prowl. Very naturalistic in approach it seemed like the script came from a very familiar place. Sure looked like real vomit here too...Champagne popping, uber driving and courtenay place. Well done day-after repercussions that almost reframed the previous events but the verite approach once the drinking started simply felt too much like a low budget Project X in my opinion.

Smiling

So that was pretty unique. Kind of cardboard cutout/superimposed photos of the actors crudely animated? I noted lots of stabbing but with a positive vibe. Very short film, but hey it didn't overstay its welcome.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2/5

Lost My Lizzy

"I'm an insomniac" just sounds funny when adult teams do this. This was about a P.I. searching for a missing girl to reunite with her twin sister. The only thing is, you kind of made the reunion anticlimactic by showing the audience a bit too much. If someone is missing, it pays to keep them missing if the reunion scene is going to be your payoff.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

As a father of 2 young boys who take swimming lessons myself, this was tragic to see, as a dad turned his back on his boy in the water to take a business call with dire consequences. Tragedy from lack of water safety is just something that is so sad in NZ and this gave it a resonating local flavour. But whilst the film had a bleak setup, the focus was then on how our heartbroken father dealth with his grief and ultimately, redemption.

I thought the grief aspects were handled particularly well. It is something that can instill a vast array of emotions from anger to sadness and regret, and your lead showed good range in presenting this over a short period of time. The minor touch of having him on medications was all that was needed to show that he was trying to get help, to improve.

The music was also so good! A chillwave ambient sonic soundscape that created an eery tone of sadness particularly as the film drew to a close.

For me though, whilst well shot, performed and scored with a personal storyline, it did play out as a tad generic. I just feel that in terms of the dad's arc, self sacrifice worked, but meant we started and finished tragic. If there was some form of more positive redemption I can't help but shake the feeling that the film would have been even better for it. I would have had you on the Christchurch shortlist compared to some stuff that got through though myself, so thank you for making this film.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Sprung

A ripoff of the film Jumper, but done with a local charm. Set in the year 2078, a couple of cyber cops are sent to investigate recent illegal jumping activity [I'm pretty sure; the wall of text at the start was TL;DR]. Kept it real with locations including the racecourse stands, and the local dairy, you got good performances out of your young actors. I liked that you mixed up the tone with the serious guys (ending was a shock!) and the happy go lucky fishing kids. Just need to do an original idea next time.

The Ballad of Nicky Brick

A cowboy type strumming their guitar on the beach works as a nice introduction to this tale that happened once upon a time when Nicky Brick who had no friends to help him out on 48 Hours went on a bit of a quest. Very clever lyrics and well shot for the most part (although at times a bit music-videoy which is a backhanded compliment, but the fourth wall singing could have been toned down a little in my view), this was probably a better fantasy adventure film than most of the entries in that genre so far despite not having too much mystical going on. Solving riddles, questing for the leaf of luck and dealing with a curious old man with a beard warmer made this quite a fun watch.

Leafmageddon

A more serious effort here this team looks like it could have quite a bit of potential for future years if they decide to stick with the competition. A little talky but good ideas regarding the end of the world being potentially having been caused by someone but also giving them the potential chance to put it right. Ended on a cliffhanger race against time but yet again a good script, and being a short film it was probably good that we didn't get closure either way.

Making A Splash

In a social media-driven world, there is often a need to be liked more, to be better, bigger and more outrageous to differentiate yourself from the herd, and Chillybox nailed this gross out comedy with aplomb here, pondering some bigger societal questions along the way

The signs are set early when a vlogger prepared to get down and dirty with sex toys has a meer 13 followers, yet idolises a spiritual guru with a 2 million and growing base. Dare to be different, he preaches, and she takes than on board and runs with it.

Through self introspection, a whole lot of water vials and a bucket, the time has come for our heroine to make a splash on the influencer circuit. Given her idol has a natural approach to proceedings, she takes this on board to the extreme and Chillybox tick the box for their genre. Hard.

I loved a lot about this film. The protagonist was fantastic, and the brief snippets of footage from the IG star she looked up to were well done as well. The eyeball fetishim that concluded the film was genuinely striking imagery that would have made Lucio Fulci proud.

Technically rock solid as always. Clean smooth editing and clear sound/sound design being highlights. Yes it was mainly shot in an apartment but the set dressing and framing was done really well, plus that got broken up nicely by the IG superstar footage. A couple of shots very early on were not razor sharp in terms of focus but nothing was glaring.

If I was to raise a couple of personal points with the film, I think that just ever so slightly more motivation for the woman wanting followers and attention would have made her even more relatable. But I am nitpicking. Also I actually am not sure if the final eyepatch shot was needed, as I thought the ending prior to that had kicked my ass in a good way, but that's just me.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

FashiON ReTREAT

Yeah I'm not going to be down on this one as was infectious in its positivity despite some technical holdups in terms of editing and sound where unfortunately wind was on a lot of the track. A fashion retreat in the woods allowed 3 epic micro fashionista biopics that had big ideas about country vs city and, fashion as a deep concept and finding individual identity.

Keta-Mean Girls

Drug dealers with an appetite for pies contemplate whether to try taking down their crime lord, whilst being on the run from the guy they nicked some special K from at the start of the film throughout. Decent rapport built up between the two leads, and of course hilarious when they got hungry and contemplated mince vs steak and cheese. I thought the story was a bit muddied and the payoff at the end abrupt.

YOLO

Good take on the genre that actually spent some time on character development and a resolution that was tonally good. Some real angst on show, and whilst the script was raw the lead actor showed some real potential. Basically a loner lashes out at anyone that tries to be nice or care for them. Having said the script was raw I'm not actually saying that was a bad thing. You laid out your jokes and went for it which I commend you for eg, the don't-give-a-shit laugh was excellent. Pacing was decent too and the closeness of the domestic situation gave the film's ending impact.

Shit Chat

Honestly, Free Cinematic Luts, I LOVED your film and I'm genuinely flabbergasted that this did not make the Auckland final. I've watched everything in New Zealand this year and this was literally tracking in my top 5 nationwide, with the most startling ending to a 48 Hours film that I have ever seen.

But let's work backwards, because I'm literally trying to make head and tails over what the judges didn't like here. Yes it's absolutely crude as fuck, but it's also technically on point with fantastic performances and script and nailing the genre.

"Story is king" is my first point I want to address, because that has always been the mantra of the competition. What are we all looking to actually see made on the weekend? To me I want to see original stories with well structured beats driven by an engaging dramatic question. To me SHIT CHAT ticks all of these boxes. There is no lack of clarity about the dramatic arc, in fact I found it incredibly satisfying; we see character development through back and forth dialogue where we only see one party (I mean, c'mon - Missing Pixels got 2nd in 2017 with that sort of approach so I don't see how that's an issue all of a sudden), heck even sound is really good.

In terms of coming back to the film itself, one of the things I liked the most about this film, where a festival goer opens up to try and open up their constipated bowels, is the colour play. The lime green portaloo walls made for eye catching cinematic scenery with our lead's light red Hawaiian shirt, with flourishes introduced to add breathing room such as orange juice in the background or other patrons taking a break from their festival experience.

The one negative might be the film being too static, but the team seemed incredibly aware of the need to break up the pacing so that's very much an absolutely minor nitpick. I guess the comedy is also not everyone's cup of tea, but honestly this is the most egregious miss by judges I've seen since Floater Films not making the Wellington final in 2007 when I had them pegged to win the whole comp.

Maybe it's me though. Love your work team.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

A Hearts Desire

When an isolated camper attracts the attention of a couple of seriously creepy looking magical creatures that have come up from the nearby camp lake, the dread factor kicks up a notch as they toy with her whilst baring their teeth.

Makeup here was absolutely fantastic. Honestly the atmosphere you created sent shivers down my spine, it was genuinely spooky and evocative, and I was pretty much on the edge of my seat when the 'be careful what you wish for' trope was laid bare. Performers sold the predator/prey so well, I thought to myself this is simply fantastic...best 48 Hours horror film I've seen in years. Placing in Christchurch for certain. Technically on point with an exceptional edit...

...And then that ending, for me, just undid the amazing previous 4 minutes or so of the film.

I mean look, I get it, you didn't want to make a generic horror film and there is every chance that come awards time you will be rewarded for your subversive choices here. It did still leave me with a feeling of mystery and wonder at the universe of the creatures you had created, but it just felt like I had got thrown off the rollercoaster a little bit early.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Where's Simon

Bumbling hitmen look for their missing kidnap victim who somehow escaped from the boot of their car on the way to the murder spot. The tone was set early when we learn it is not the first time they have had things or limbs go missing, and from there they urgently raced around looking for their target Simon.

I thought your actor with the ponytail gave a terrific performance in this film, showing excellent screen presence with fantastic facial expressions and nuanced line deliveries that reminded me of Hugo Weaving in THE MATRIX.

The edit was tight and I noted 'cool music' though not sure if was original or stock, but it suited the film well either way. The only thing that dragged this down for me a little bit was the ending, which felt a bit rushed compared to the proceeding film.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Pick Up

It makes it hard to review when you're seeing an idea for the umpteenth time in a 48 hours year, having thought the previous teams were original, and yet the later entries may be the best of the bunch in terms of using that concept. This was the case here, with mistaken identity and criminals involved. Almost a double reunion film, it set out charmingly and quickly developed. Some nice visual touches, it was short and to the point.

Memories of Kevin

After asking for 5 minutes of their time to say goodbye to loved ones in her now empty house and being given 3 by a cold faced demolition company, a woman struggles for something, anything in her barren former dwelling that will give her the closure she needs to move on.

So I can see 2 clear reasons this made the Auckland final (well done) which were superb cinematography and a superb performance by your lead actress. She sold pleading, desperation, longing and love through classic acting but at the same time was restrained in her delivery to the point that everything presented as very emotional and believable.

The fact that this was all done in one shot was very impressive. Sound was also really good with a very well layered film in that regard.

If I was to put my theoretical judging hat on as to why this didn't make the national final, I think a big thing for me is that the ending didn't personally stick. My intepretation was that it was a little bit open, either being in her head, or that Kevin had moved on and I think for full engagement I just needed one more dramatic beat to be satisfied.
But it might have also been that the story was a little light. Very well told, absolutely, but the weighting of the key question the film asked (it's crucial to find Kevin) contrasted with us as an audience not knowing why it was important. It was told and sold through the performance and script, but maybe just a little too open would be my guess.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

CHRISTMAS

Certainly unique, I could definitely see a crazed auteur behind the wheel of this one as an electric guitar beer loving bogan drove around and tried to engage with his mum in the lead up to Christmas. The car driving shots had an ethereal, oneiric quality and this presented the idea of how loneliness can be a genuinely problematic issue around the holiday period for people, as can family. Also the recording of phone conversations due to paranoia and a previous theft of the laptop fit nicely with the character arc that we were privy to witness. Genuinely takes effort to pull this aethetic off but I think you nailed it.

Movie 48

Colour me impressed! Massive improvement from your previous films, and no I definitely won't be making any harsh criticisms this year, absolutely respected the meta call out in this sharp little film within a film. Whilst making a film about the shoot weekend with v cans can often be the death knell in this competition, this team gave the expected hand wringing a metaphorical middle finger before putting it in the blender with aplomb. I have to agree with you, opposites attract is a crazy hard genre to make work, so mad props for subverting. With an introspective three act plot the team tried to come up with ideas that would work for shooting over the weekend; a massively stereotypical silly costumed Mexicans across the border piece, which they used as a send up for acknowledging what has not worked in the past, perhaps bananas emerging from the sea, or a mixture of all the ingredients they could come up with. Technically sound with a smooth hand behind the edit. Well played guys.

Holdin' On

Another dude sitting on the toilet to start this one off, one of the more popular themes in this year's 48 hours. We were then treated to a looong tracking shot following him down Aro Street, lamenting not having TP through some fairly ordinary spoken rap (decent beat, though), running into a couple of acquaintances. Highlight was the operatic phone booth singer, which left me baffled as to why the team hadn't made more use of his stunning voice. The film looked fairly nice, but most of the music wasn't great.

Refraction

A story that uses fantasy as its framework for getting over a relationship breakup was an interesting take on the genre. I don't know where this team shot the film but they found somewhere with some truly majestic overhanging forest trees and a large clearing with no houses or technology in view of the whole horizon, meaning the tone was well set. Coming up with their own fantasy terminology - it was 'Phanthom' wasn't it? was a bold move, although the final battle was a teency bit underdone (the team did the best they could though and the makeup effects on the villanous Phanthom more than made up for not having any real effects or spells).

Off the Cuff

Excellent film. I was a little hesitant at least initially that this was going to be a mockumentary, although having said that the film blasts into gear with quickfire jokes such as the name the NZ equivalent of Cops being 'Beat Off'. I should have worried not as we get a plot turning point that really uses the found footage concept to good effect. Sure, not the most original re: death and documenting the antics that follow, but some really good topical laughs and particularly strong performances I was fairly sold on the idea that these people were just being followed rather than acting out scripted lines.

Nicky and Lucy

Interesting take on the one-shot genre, with an actual attempt at character development as an outcast is followed by her schoolmate from History at school who has never talked to her but sees now as the perfect opportunity. Everything seems to be going swimmingly with smokes offered and stories told to look to get each other onside as friends, but it seems like Mrs Gilbert at the high school has stirred up a few things and this leads to a daring conclusion. The film developed nicely and the young leads conveyed emotion well without dialogue. I just felt the camera work was not quite at the level it probably should have been for this to go from good to very good.

life sKills

NCEA Level 3 Life Skills exam goes absolutely ballistic, in a balls to the wall display of craziness by this veteran team and it was all the better for it. Many scratch your head or blink your eye did I really just see that moments, as the exam produced some staggeringly ridiculous questions for the students to ponder. Almost all hilarious this film moved like a locomotive and when a question comes out that is worth 100 credits you know there's going to be effort made to obtain excellence! Really covered a lot of ground from spelling to toast to illuminati, and got quite dark and violent while still trying to keep some of the tender friendship elements in there that represent school. Largely raw technically with sound being haphazard but made up for by its energy.

Josh

Sorry to hear you were DQ'd, this was definitely one of the more enjoyable films out of the Hamilton heats. I was genuinely impressed by the amount of coverage you got for your film. I counted 116 cuts on my second watch just now and it seemed like brand new angles that would have taken endless setups peppered the film, giving it frenetically paced energy to proceedings, but with a smooth edit keeping things on track at all times.

Yes, the inspirations of films were yesteryear were obvious, but you still stuck to your guns and played it straight, giving the film a respectable consistency to the tone. Your villain was larger than life, your gatekeeper ethereal, but the plot was driven by the required elements of the comp such as the invisible map and titular Josh having to show bravery reluctantly.

The location could have easily been given away as a school with the wrong angle or reflection at precisely the wrong inopportune time, but everything was tight to sell the idea of guerilla militants racing to find the key they needed.

I have to say I felt the conclusion to the film a tad confusing with the overlays and chess board etc, but this was classic guerilla film making and I applaud you for it.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

25 Minutes

Mostly based on a true story apparently, our lead has 25 minutes to get his IVF specimen to the clinic because he chooses to go with the do it at home approach to save on the $80 it costs if you wish to rub out your specimen in nicer surroundings. Of course a tale of things getting in the way, in particularly their fellow Xbox playing flatmate who has a very relaxed attitude about the whole thing. What would a good action movie be without a ninja, too? And what would a good ninja fight be without it being against a pirate? Some of the little random acts were really well done but the lighthearted tone meant that it did not have too much actual action.

How to Fix a Broken Heart

Oof. I really really loved your film LundPicturesInc., and it broke my heart to see it DQ, which is a little bit ironic because this film was all about mending broken hearts.

With a surreal tone but played very straight, a man lets his patient know that he has not heard a heart like her's in a long time and uses his expertise to make his way into her heart and break down her walls.

Really great performances, impressive set design and well shot/edited I liked how you pulled a reverse INSIDE OUT with the scenes inside the heart. Not 100% that the falling in love stuff worked, but loved the feeling this invoked.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

My Tinfoil Hat

Taking the piss out of Covid-19 vaccines (or not, in which case this review is null and void) Team Sonita threw the kitchen sink at Bill Gates and 5G, presenting a darkly comic world of pro anti-vaxxers where rewards for example were given for dobbing in neighbours trying to get cured by Pfyzer.

Playing like a cult or religious film, the church was indeed used as a cover for those renegades who might try to buck the norm. Also with everything upside down and the world going crazy, what's a little dog eating between friends?

Technically sound, with just some minor muffled audio, and with a well delivered script, this was an enjoyable short. I'm personally not the biggest fan of going extremely topical with 48Hours shorts but I'm not a judge so all power to you.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Chip Potatoe the Super Potato

Chip Potatoe: The Super Potato, reviewed by steelpotato! Woohoo!

Shit my balls this was weird. From the animated imagery that cut into the film throughout (and honestly, I'd love to see what you could do with a proper animated film) to the potato suit that bursts into sight within 20 seconds of the film starting, we were in for a wild ride.

Therapy sessions are often the death knell for 48Hours and I'm not going to lie it was the main thing that held the film back for me. The issue with therapy films is they just generally come across as people sitting down talking, which makes it hard to present an engaging film even with visual flourishes or strong jokes, which this film had.

I liked that the team did their best to subvert the superhero genre, and the actor in the potato suit in particular did a great job as a cranky been there done that former saviour of the world. Even nukes won't stop him, but his dad's words will...

The final confrontation with the father just made things finish with a bonkers flourish, but I just feel like there was a missed opportunity here given the team's wonderful sense of humour and visual ability, that something (a film) more energetic than static would have elevated proceedings, a lot.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Party Pooper

A genuine race against the clock to save a perfect first date when a bathroom break doesn't go quite as planned. My goodness me this was an urgent film, never boring for a second with flash cuts, split screens, blockbuster camera movement and a pulse-pounding score. Really threw all the editing tricks in the book at the screen and stood out for the better because of it. Comedic timing was bang on and to me an absolutely charming film with terrific acting performances but at the end of the day your enjoyment of the film will hinge on how much you enjoy toilet humour.

Clocked Out

A very thirsty man asks his friend to cover for his cheating, after he gets fed up that his partner/wife is always working too much and moves onto the next name in his little black book when his needs don't get met on the spot. Black and white, blurry for the most part and shot from a distance where we couldn't see the character on the phone, and with a plot that was very far from real time thriller it was a film that needed a lot more time spent on the script. Sorry to see you were DQ.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 1/5
Elements: 1/5
Overall: 1/5

The Gathering

Technically impressive for its genre given that it appeared to have steady framing, lighting and sound throughout as well as the actors giving reasonably strong performances. I do however get the feeling that most teams getting this genre (or choosing End of the World, as the case of 1 shot may be) took the example picture of Melancholia perhaps a bit too literally. Still, this had a decent idea with several different individuals gathering about a potential apocalypse; the skeptic reporter, the drunken scientist and the unemployed pregnant women amongst others. Probably good that it created more questions than answers in presenting the whole science vs other argument.

Survival of the mutant

4 years in the future a virus attacks the whole world, and so people decide to make the most of their last time by spending and sharing time with friends and family/sharing video and skyping. Started off cringe-worthy and got better...and better...and better until I was literally crying from laughter at the stupid things our narrator would quip on. I mean a young boy with a slingshot? Yeah ok. Drinking mate with a BBQ? Good to reminisce I supposed. But yeah the team just snapped and our narrator came up with some goldmines of dialogue. "Go Nick Go" "Alanis Morissette isn't ironic, she's just inept". So yeah in other words another best worst contender.

Cranial Muffin

Cranial muffin does not really sound very endearing, and neither did it to our central protagonist when the very mention of the words took him to some dark, cannibalistic places with his ex in the back of his memory vault. I felt a real sense of unease throughout the film, which I’m hoping is what the team wanted to convey.

Stuffed

What I liked about this film: excellent audio, steady camerawork and the moments where the 'lovers' were genuinely on the run (well into the 2nd half of the film) such as the car chase vs the gang of EYES WIDE SHUT masked assailants featured really strong cinematography. I did find that the script felt a bit stilted however and whilst I would never expect or want people to replicate BADLANDS/BONNIE & CYLDE/WILD AT HEART etc I was surprised with the narrative arc taken. I liked the subversion attempt but struggled because I personally felt there was only really one lover on the run - the pet to me didn't really count (and yes I did see it noted in the film that pets provide love and companionship - it still didn't make her dog her lover in this film)

Fetus 5000

What a location! Reminded me of the nuclear factory at the beginning of trash Italian zombie classic Hell of the Living Dead. We followed a tour around the facilities where they make the latest craze, the 'Fetus 500'. The key elements of the product being highlighted with some scripting/comedic timing that was outstanding in particular our tour guide. Where do you get the finest specimens for injecting pregnant women? Watch the film and find out :) Of course what's a tour without a demonstration, right? Luckily there are specimens close at hand who are ready to give birth with the help of the F5K. 200 litres of injected fluid and a flying demonic spawn baby follow with a couple of jaw dropping moments. Again, do have to reiterate that it was a good idea for the pregnant Wellington judge not to come to the heat... The battle between the demonic spawn and the scientists/progression of the footage as the situation disintegrated was excellently done I thought. Given what it was the production values were almost perfect, with just the one repeat shot dragging things down ever so slightly.

Nicky Brick and the Funkys Licks

My favourite high school entry in many a year. Top stuff guys. Our lead has a his breath taken away by the girl of his dreams, but lacks the funk she's after to let him stick it in her (I shit you not, that was the first song and it had the audience in stitches). Not only that, but there are wayfearer/leather jacket rivals who hold a lot more coolness at the start of the film. Of course what's a good love story without having a progression to allow the chance to win a lady back/at least vye for her attentions again? And what's a good 48 hours film without a manic as fuck rainbow tight wearing funk guru? The costume designs were tremendous, montage superb, the camera angles sublime and the pacing was like a runaway train. I wanna go listen to Maggot Brain now. Oh and you had the best use of the prop in the whole competition so far. Badass film on the whole guys, would watch again.

Misogyny And Magic

A wizard, a warrior and Betty need to slay a dragon to claim the reward and thus off on a deliberately mysognistic adventure they went, with the fighter and the spellcaster putting the woman in her place at several intervals.

A clearly deliberate attempt at satire; a character is called Antifa for crying out loud! Nevermind that the dragonslayer works in an office and that they openly admit to not using VFX because of the cost.

Technically there were some really nice touches here. The point of view shots from the beast they were hunting were particularly well done, selling the illusion of a mystical flying creature well and the red filter topped this off. The costumes albeit a little low budget sold the heroes a the stereoytpes they were meant to be, and sound was particularly strong.

Now whilst the film looked great, I have a bit of a weird nitpick which is how you framed the film. I loved the cornfield location, but just the camera shot choices throughout of being mainly medium shot with plantations visible either side of the character meant it all felt a bit crammed. I was aching for a more cinematic approach given you clearly have the chops to handle your camera really well.

Betty was well developed I must say, taking the barbs and ending with a satisfying story arc. However that satisfaction does depend on if you feel the satire box was ticked hard enough. I did though it being morally ambiguous at best meant it was not quite a home run.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Rob

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and after being butthurt at being left out in the cold of the wedding of a supposed best mate, our protagonist decides to get even by inviting himself into the groom to be's house in order to make it a special day for himself.

I thought that the buildup to the house entry was well done, with bumbling and down to earth comic humour such as the phone call to mum and things going wrong with the key. Your lead actor's performance was excellent in the first part of the film. Once inside the initial chemistry between the two uninvited guests was well presented with some unexpected story beats.

However, and yes I get you were going for a unique presentation with the security cameras, the approach of sticking to the security cameras once inside the house meant that the money content of the film felt distant and to me hard to engage with. With most of the shots being high angles and wide, there were instances where we had things like characters talking with their backs to the audience.

Again, I appreciate that is what you were going for, sticking to your guns for the payoff, but I felt like I was simply observing rather than engaging with these characters when push came to shove.

Editing was good for what you shot despite the camera choices not being my cut of tea, sound was clean, and I do give you props for the well done genre subversion.

My last nitpick is the use of character. An anti-'hero'/reluctant 'hero'/unlikely 'hero'? just for getting revenge on a non-wedding invite was a very big stretch in my book.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 1.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Max

Good lord I do love me some eyeball fetishism to start a horror film. It immediately makes me feel giddily nostalgiac for 70s and 80s European cinema designed to give you chills. In fact, this had many notes from the three Italian masters of the macabre. From Bava, through our haunted female protagonist, but then let's not forget Argento with the deep red hues as the tension ramped up, and my favourite Fulci with the aformentioned deep focused start on a contact lense going into an eye with great precision.

But Cyan Sea were not just out to pay homage, in fact I feel there intention was not homage at all but a more intimate exploration of PTSD and psychosis. This was about a woman who was cared for, who had felt love, and who needed love, but a troubled past put strain on her reality and sanity.

Other than the strong performance by the lead actress, I have jotted down that I felt the edit was particularly strong here. Troubles started smaller in scale and snowballed as stress levels rose and the stakes were elevated. An unwelcomed hand on the shoulder and a misheard word leads to things such as mistaken identities and ultimately consumption by trauma.

What I also liked was the consistent tone you chose, and how you went for it guns blazing, delivering a rare well done serious 48 hours film. Even a misplaced face on a date didn't feel out of place, for example, due to your sure hand, whereas I could have easily seen other teams having that play as comedy whether intentional or not. Yours didn't.

From a technical point of view other than the edit I thought it was a particularly nice touch gradually raising the music levels from woah to go, mirroring the dramatic arc.

In terms of what could have been done better for the film, initially I absolutely hated the ending of the film. It felt really stabby, cold, predictable and bleak and was exactly what I had hoped not see given your marvelous work up to that point. HOWEVER I think the final shot might have saved it and brought things round by showing how sometimes we let trauma consume us to the point that we become the thing we hate the most. Still a little bit on the fence though.

The next thing is that despite the wonderful camerawork and lighting flourishes, I found a decent portion of the film's locations to be a tad plain. But again this allowed a laser focus on the inner turmoil of your lead for us as viewers so more of an observation than a criticism.

Lastly would be the show don't tell approach for the past events. I think it was incredibly clear just what had happened myself and applaud you for tackling such a subject area, but there may be some who miss crucial details if they hadn't paid attention as some key information was provided in singular great shots, I felt.

Overall though, a tensely built horror film that invoked a feeling of claustrophbia by the time we got to the 3rd act of the film. Impressive work.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4/4
Overall: 4/5

Past-it Notes

Out of the box timeless take on time travel, as the old monitor and vcr + unidentifiable setting for watching meant this could have been any place, any time. I was pretty impressed by how well the team replicated the look of a composite analogue tape, the only thing missing would have been some colour bleed haha. The person giving the self-help seminar on the video about sending pick me up/encouraging post it notes ("past-it notes") to the past was outstanding with not a single moment where he did not completely sell his performance. The pacing was tidy and I loved the originality. I think the lo-fi aesthetic worked really well and I liked that you kept it simplistic in scope, though I do wonder if the notes to historical figures could have had slightly more impact. The ending was also a tad abrupt when I had really grooved on the film up until that point.

Are you ready Eddie?

I've heard that public speaking is right up there in terms of things most people are the most nervous about in the world, so this was a reasonably realistic portrayal of a boy trying to skimp out from delivering his speech for school in order to avoid embarrassment. Of course plenty of other opportunities provide themselves for him to accidentally be shamed, such as his crush being an environmentalist and his own family having a composting toilet... The actor who played the teacher was fantastic, and the cringe of his short shorts and the failed attempt at romance really ticked the cringe-inducing boxes. Simple but effective film.

Job Security

A 10 year human security veteran tells his newly recruited robot replacement that he is going to teach him the ropes today. By that I mean he is going to use the day as a means for some excellent comedic quips and observations. Both actors were really solid here as they built a rapport in front of our eyes. A couple of nice special effects touches as well re: the robot.

Sugar Hit

Nicely picked spacey sounding music selected from Big Bang and Fuzz complimented this short very well, I thought. After a radio report of women going missing, we follow Victoria who is clearly upset by the goings on, and her friend even more so. Ordinarily I hate wake up/breakfast and coffee shots to start films but you had a really good vibe going. Creepy neighbour was suitably creepy. You did a good job of going for the show rather than tell approach, but in this instance the ending was quite abrupt.

Legend of the Eternal Leaf

I do have to say that this wasn't exactly an urban legend with the whole being set in a forest thing going on, felt more like a Hans Christian Anderson tale. I won't hold that against you entirely though, as a legend was still told well enough. The two brothers(?) collecting wood and stumbling upon a thing of great importance was well framed, and the tree climbing/leg break definitely made me wince.

Many Happy Returns

Following a very recent family death, a birthday cake complete with candle is presented. "Make a wish" and the rest is history. Although of course there's no such thing as a free lunch, and so oneiric J-Horror makeup and backyard burials become the order of the day much to the chagrin of our protagonist. Strong screen presence from the lead actress given very little dialogue, and engaging audio ambiance this was very much a foreboding folktale that I imagine would affect anyone who has lost somebody close to them. The only thing is that I swear I've read this exact folk-tale/ghost story previously.

The World

Name of Short: "The World" (Race Against the Clock Genre) [DQ] A guy plays a videogame where he gets to create the word, but the first time he plays a woman who is a glitch enters the system and won't leave him alone. The relationship develops, but I felt this was more of a techno thriller than anything. Contained some nice early morning shots of Wellington but could have done with some more character development.

Genie in a Goon

Drinking goon must mean you're wishing for something better in life, right? Clever concept and very kiwi in its audience side splitting humour, the genie in particular had very strong screen presence in this one. Solid subversion of the whole concept of genies and wishes with the idea of what if the genie didn't always get the wish right? Vegas joke was hilarious and the film had an electric pace to it. Churr bro in tone but with a sinister underlying, a significant improvement for Skooterman Pictures. Well done.

Dead Market

A welfare beneficiary is going to have their benefit cut off and needs to come up with a plan in order to keep their cash flow going. The film shows the reason that their previous jobs have not worked up, and the plan they come up with to bring in the moolah moving forward is sick and twisted but also makes a lot of sense within this film's universe. Of course when the reasons for previous failure include death, extreme burning and woodchipper injuries (was that a nod to WOODCHIPPER MASSACRE?! fucking mad props if it was) you can always use your own bad luck to your advantage going forward, right? Well paced and sickly funny, although could have probably been extended just a little bit more.

Human Resources

Here we have a textbook example of what I would describe as a cartoon come to life, and the film was all the better for the approach. What is seemingly at first glance a slightly low budget effort with cardboard printed backgrounds such as 'Temp Agency' to represent an office quickly reveals its true nature through exaggeration and absurdity. I also cannot help but appreciate the glowing neon lighting that radiated throughout to develop important story beats, calling to mind 80s classic VAMP.

The reason I'm drawing a comparison to animation is a multitude of reasons, from the ridiculous storyline of a temp serving Satan, through to the ultimate presence that His presence ends up presenting as, so outlandish that I would normally assume not doing them live action . Quite genius really to present evil incarnate as a loveable pooch that would normally be man's best friend. On that note, mad props to the sensational voice work of whoever voiced the dog which was another point that had me thinking how cartoonish the film was, for the better.

But it all works. The team threw the kitchen sink at the screen, but nailed it by playing it straight and letting the comedy shine through. Were they the only team to do a QR code sign in joke? Heck no, but they were the only one to pair the topical humour with an over the top tattooed punk reminding our protagonist to use the app.

And then it got elevated by giving itself heart (literally, the best use of heartbeat in Wellington was thoroughly deserved), and warmth with a change in mis en scene presented through adjusting hues and lighting to more reddish in tone, as well as pulling the film back into relatable everyday experiences like dancing with the pooch and giving it a bath.

The performance of the lead actress was also really strong, taking everything in her stride and nailing the believable naive temp role with aplomb.

As mentioned earlier, the low budget nature of the short was slightly noticeable and some audio was a bit echoey in the office, but the editing was smooth and camerawork really well framed, to the point that the visuals are something I think of really positively. Because that lighting was so damn good I am going to praise it again!

I did also like the ending, though felt it was possibly just a tad rushed following the excellent pacing of everything that had come beforehand. Overall really great film and so glad it made the Wellington final.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

The Heart of Bwiindi

A postie/cyclist (sorry, wasn't clear which they were) tries to move on with his life after getting rejected by a receptionist. Of course, being given a map that should lead to The Heart of Bwindi treasure won't hurt if he manages to find it. Looked like you guys were having a good time making your film, and obviously went for the Indiana Jones route. Just all a bit low budget [eg, terrible sound] and cheesy [fight scenes were not good to be blunt], and it took me a long time to piece together the plotline that I have summarised here; trust me, it is not as clear as I have described.

The Orb of Truth

Our lead is tied and beaten by some interrogating thugs who believe they have incriminating evidence of their super powers, and want to know how they acquired them. There were a couple of nice gags and the special effects were simple but effective but the comedy was rather cheesy. To me it felt like it was missing another act either the capture of our main actor, or else more of a payoff once the reveal came. Obviously the camera work at the end made everyone sit up and take notice, and more of that could have been more beneficial as the film felt a little static otherwise.

Titanic on a Plane

I don't think there has ever been a more deliberate title to a film in this competition. But unlike say the annoying self-aware pastiche of SNAKES ON A PLANE, here we got a sinister guffaw-inducing stick figure stitch up of James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster.

Every memorable beat from the cruiseliner was turned upside down, from Jack's "flying" to the naked portrait, which utilized one of the required elements of this year's comp very effectively.

For those uninitiated it would be easy to say that this was basic animation, and to an extend it was by simplifying characters to rudimentary stick figures. However the movement was really smooth, voice work on point, sound design in particular folley providing strong world building for the plane, and the cinematic framing top notch so within seconds it allowed complete focus on the jokes.

It's just a really funny film with a nice (well, not nice, very very dark) arc to it. I guess the question to me would be whether parody is going to be valued particularly highly by the judges. Having been a regional judge in the past the mantra we were always given was to focus on originality first and foremost. Having said that the film is subversive AF, so it may come back to the depth of characters or lack thereof in terms of progressing further in the comp. I loved it myself.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Deliveryer

A Goonies t-shirt wearning courier drives up to deliver her package. However a mysterious mist once inside the building makes her vision blurry and she then starts seeing things such as Mexican wrestlers. A guy in a chicken suit comes along and advises that she had better get her package delivered, but there is an interesting development towards the middle of the film which I'm not going to spoil. Cool use of lasers and some great gags, as well as quality acting all around.

Laundry Time

Like a low budget romcom version of Christopher Smith's TRIANGLE, set in a laundromat. Well I guess the budget might have been a bit higher as this team is not marked as disqualified despite having the audacity to use Lana Del Ray's megahit Young and Beautiful to drive proceedings. Um...

Mondays

See now this is how you subvert dystopian but still keep well within your genre. After a start that felt like a Captain Exposition joke (but carried by the oh so most wonderful bubby electronic score) covering the resistance movement against the government machine the film settled into a classic kiwi comedic look at taking down the system armed with a 2 person rising and a very thoughtful getaway driver. Strong mis-en-scene throughout I felt the team here played to their strengths of good actors, solid camerawork/editing and particularly good music.

The Barbie

It's kind of hard to keep up with the Joneses when you can't even keep up with your partner, and when our corner cutting lead doesn't get invited to the upcoming dinner next door but his lady does, he hatches a plan to get a BBQ and become the king of the community.

Or at least that's what his mindset is as we got a bumbling populist but classic Kiwi comedy where the jokes flew thick and fast.

First off, excellent performances by all of your actors and actresses. They really committed to their roles and played the roles with aplomb.

Second big positive point for me was how you contrasted the bright sunny suburban shoot location with some incredibly dark macabre humour. It honestly felt a bit WTF when our would be grill master fantasized about murdering their succesful neighbour and dumping them in the Hauraki basin. Just so off the cuff I can imagine this having got a lot of laughs in a cinema heat screening with a crowd. Obviously many others liked the humour too, congratulations on your audience favourite award in a seriously strong heat.

But I think the script let the film down a little bit because whilst there was a whole lot of storytelling in here with an arc, which is always a big plus in 48 (trust me), and subtle hints at giving your characters motivation, the tone just really felt too relaxed for your genre in my book.
Good payoff but I wish there had been some dramatic urgency. It's fine to be comedic with a normally serious genre, in fact subversion is probably the best way to go in this comp to stand out from the pack, but like maybe showing the neighbour actually was a "farcking carnt" would have gone a long way to getting the characters on your side for taking the weber. Just my 2c.

Technically pretty good with decent camerawork, sound, editing and use of natural lighting. Not much to complain about there. Main area of focus would have been some more dynamic camerawork to heighten the action given you got Heist as your genre.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Leafal Interests

A one-shot mockumentary which usually earns my ire but this fell in line well with the required elements rather than shoe horning them in. A focus on the 8th episode of a show regarding over zealous leaf collectors in search of rare shrubbery gave had all the actors hit their marks, had a beginning middle and end and got some good audience laughs especially the strong boyfriend taking offence to thinking our female lead was checking out his "missus". Taking a show and giving it the feeling that ordinary people wouldn't just turn tricks for the camera was well conveyed.

Face Plant

Jazz singing as a group of friends/associates converge whilst they await Nicky Brick, who they are hoping will have the talent to bring them riches. Nicky is looking to make it big so that she can stop being whore (I apologise if I misheard the lyrics but it seemed to be what she was saying). The original guests of course are obnoxious to the point where there waiter feels he has to do something about it, with dire consequences for Nicky. Looked like the team had fun as they sleazed it up a bit. Tough genre to get for this team as there songs could have done with a lot more work.

Mr. Allen

Opening with a splash, a retired Private Investigator is invited to solve a murder by a smart HER-like speaker. But think less friendly ELECTRIC DREAMS vibes and more sinister ambience. The new career of column writing can wait for the P.I. when there's a homicide to be solved.

Initially the first couple of minutes of the film had me hooked, and the really well shot black and white footage was done with such great contrast that I thought the team had absolutely nailed the Ultra requirement.

Now I appreciate having already generated suspension of disbelief with the A.I. speaker come to life, but I felt that the location teleporting did take things in a slightly disjointed direction. It felt like the idea was a dreamlike tone as per the synthwave washes at the start of the film, but the middle parts felt flat for me. However the culmination whilst a little predictable was particularly well edited.

The performance of your lead actor was really strong, and sound design was also solid. Camera framing was great at times too.

I think for mine the gravitas of the subject matter was something that I question. If I'm interpreting it correctly and there was no 3rd party here, then the act of losing life in the pool really needed a lot more weighting for me to hit the mark. If I'm wrong and there was a responsible 3rd party then I feel that a beat was missed there just in my opinion. There was a lot I liked but a clearer script whilst maintaining the oneiric atmosphere would have propelled this further.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Lil' Bro

A couple of brothers sit tied to a chair as a Mr. Big type villain tells his henchmen to make them suffer for doing him over, leading to a shootout in a cardboard box warehouse.

I liked the little flourishes of character that you gave. The one with a penchant for taking blind risks whether through his pistol or reliant on luck with card games, made things make perfect full circle sense to the "done me over" anger prior to the ordered execution by the villain in the beginning. I appreciated the closeness of the brothers through visual motifs throughout and ultimately their trust in one another.

From a cinematic point of view this had the real possibility with a lesser team to come across as plain or bland, yet you somehow made cardboard boxes give the film more depth, with the key element I think there being the slight red tints of lighting you were able to superbly provide.

Editing was solid, fx were good for 48, sound was really good, and playing things straight for the most was a nice mature change of pace from this team compared to their previous efforts.

But I do have some areas of concern with the film. I've brought up Mr. Big so far, I've brought up your minor touches that gave the brothers a connection, but to me the issue is that your villain was a stereotype and your familial connections were just that, minor. Because of having what I felt were largely flat characters I personally found it difficult to develop a connection with the story. I felt we got close with the blind shot, the reason that wasn't quite a home run for me is that the aftermath seemed a little throway. I'll give you the ending, that was a funny twist and provided a reframing full circle resolution. Just with story being king in this comp I'm not sure this was original enough as it could have been, with a lot taken from LETHAL WEAPON.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

New Eden

A group of colonizers struggle with having to constantly eat some orange soup-like food that they literally call gobbledigook (not sure on the spelling). Many discussions ensue about alternative sources, and there is some foraging for additional food. I like that you had some sci-fi tropes in particular your soundtrack and sound effects, but what could have been developed more was a tighter edit as often multiple characters had turns talking within the same frame, delivering expository dialogue. I'd also recommend if you are going to commit to shooting a large portion of your film inside to spruce up the set especially when gifted something like sci-fi. Just my 2c!

Dead Comfy

Oh man, I really hope this team has seen DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS, because as a fan of that 70s shocker I absolutely loved this entry. A couple of friends find a free couch and take it home to their flat. However anyone that goes near the piece of furniture kind of runs into trouble. The script was very good, and the film felt fresh.

E.O.O

A budget cereal eater struggling with his life takes a church pamphlet through no choice of his own, and then realises things are shit at the religious retreat he has been enticed to. The idea of a monster was only really suggested or hinted at with the wise old sage and the promise of a BLAIR WITCH potential creature on the horizon before a hilarious meta ether level burn for the actor who left halfway through the weekend, called out directly by this team as a meta joke ending. Taking the piss out of the elements was hilarious and I hope you enjoyed the massive laugh you got at the cinema, because you deserve it for that stunt. Sorry to hear about your actor quitting though!

Mission: Fourty Percent

As non-deliberate as it probably was, spying on someone from a tree immediately made me think of John Lovitz in LITTLE NICKY, but here the team was spying on their neighbour with the attention of securing a wifi password.

This was done with a very elaborate, borderline conspiracy plan...but the film was very slow paced. Sound was generally decent, performances were fine and script had some good humour. Technically I loved the POV shots but almost the entire rest of the film being wide or medium shots just put me at a distance with the action.

The big one for me that held this back was the pacing. The rapidfire dialogue to start proceedings then came crashing down when an age was spent with the static shots in the house looking for the cat. The ending fell flat for me also.

Small scale stories are fine in this comp, but the script needed work to provide some more dramatic beats, urgency and engagement for me.

Story: 1/5
Technical 2.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Made Maid

Frustrated young brats try to manipulate their android babysitter to go from young kid levels of entertainment to adult (3.5 inch disks storing the ability to change, much to my amusement). The plot developed nicely and the android POV shots were quite well done, as was the excellent final shot. I think your young leads did a stellar job, and the choice to go with a darkly comic approach gave the story credence.

Phantasmal Illusions and Other Apparitions

Who doesn't want to know what is in store for their future? Our lead goes to a tarot reading for this exact reason and draws many unusual cards or toys only for a presence to appear and events to spiral out of control.

For mine, seeing what won let alone was nominated for cinematography in Hamilton I'm pretty surprised you weren't up for that award. The film was visually slick, with really good camerawork, lighting and cinematic touches throughout. I can see how the inserted footage of buildings and candles might have rubbed some the wrong way though as it was a little bit extrenuous.

Performances were also good in terms of line deliveries and screen presence and the original soundtrack which was really strong was the highlight of the whole thing.

But I need to talk about the elephant in the room. That ending, was, in my opinion, absolutely dire. An eye for an eye cold blooded revenge. I get it, I think, that brothers would do anything for each other but to just go for the cold kill left me feeling absolutely freezing and nonchalant about the whole thing that had come before in the previous 3 minutes. An absolute shame.
My personal opinion is that you had 2 more minutes you could have used to give depth to characters and make the ending actually resonate. Why was the revenge so important? What satisfaction did the audience gain? Why did the first murder happen? Being open ended is all well and good but when even a shred of detail about who the characters are is stripped away like this it just creates a mean spirited film.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 1.5/5

It Tolls For Thee

This was a nicely shot confession of a man's inability to stop dancing like a retard any time they hear a bell due to a misshap at a stag do. The events are well chronicled and there are some good laughs to be had. In particular the priest gives some good response that make him seem just one of the lads eg, responding that he too loves go karting. The mischievous grin he holds only reveals its true value once the film reaches its apex, of course. Well acted but too much talking for a dance film, I would have liked to have seen at least a 50% balance in favour of the genre but that's just me.

PepTok

So....the elephant in the room of this film's director having for the 2nd time in 4 years written a suicide-centered film that placed at the national finals? Yeah I'm assuming most are going to not care given it just took out the Apee (congrats by the way). For me personally this has got to be the most divisive winner the comp has ever seen. Yes challenging and technically brilliant plus perfectly performed it just didn't tick the boxes for me personally in terms of engagement and it's really hard to put my finger on it. Will come back to edit this review once I've pondered a bit more and re-watched.

Jebivetar

First of all, congrats to your director Kathleen for your WIFT award, the directing in this film was probably the strongest part about it (and there were many strong aspects) as you were able to drum up very convincing performances from all of your performers in this tale of freedom and following your dreams.

The film was rhythmic, with fantastic breathing to the pacing of proceedings, as a therapy session turned into a revealing self assessment for both patient, doctor and any audience watching with a sensational fourth wall break. You have to have a lot of confidence and ability to be able to build your film like this in 5 minutes, but colour me impressed at how you handled your structure.

What I particularly liked was how the film started grounded in reality and moved into a slightly surreal tone, with the collective movement of people feeling particularly hypnotic. Yes, "fucking the wind" is arguable a farcical message but if you look past that and truly listened to the script its impressive how Underwater Dreams used their film as a platform for the truly powerful message that being yourself is freeing.

Also, far out does this film play well with a crowd, absolutely slaying the audience with induced laughter at both the heat I saw it at and Wellington final.

Technically I was a little bewildered by the choice to shoot in Academy ratio, however the focus pulling was top notch with every speaking part being given fantastic depth whenever they were centred on camera. In many ways it helped a lot as well, because the tight framing felt reflective of the tightness/constriction the lead actress felt until the freedom and personal choice was embraced in the second half of the film.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

The Secret in His Eye

Interesting idea of a hitman planning his revenge in great detail, before trying to replicate what should in theory have been a smooth operation. Given the level of detail involved, there has to be some adaptability, of course. I really liked the concept of the eye technology and your lead held the story together well.

Lush Leaves

Here's a tip from doing 48 Hours for quite a number of years; don't waste the first 45-60 seconds of your film showing someone waking up out of bed etc as its precious time that can be used on jumping into your story and engaging the audience. The film itself was ok, as a girl deals with the horror of no 'Mermite' in the kitchen pantry by scouring around the house with a chair held over her head Benny Hill style, and then ending up in a fantasy world reached through leaves where they are promised this condiment by a mysterious mystical girl. I noted good use of sound effects throughout such as rustling leaves and running water for the river, as well as being drawn into the world of the film. The fact it had me thinking of more questions re: the fantasy world was probably a good thing.

Cold Porridge Caper

Absolutely GORGEOUS film, with my friend sitting next to me commenting that a couple of shots could be framed as photos. Spot on camerawork as well. I will be re-watching this as have been told by the team that sound at the Paramount was overblown resulting in dialogue not being as clear as it should have been. Essentially a dark retelling of the Goldilocks/3 Bears story with an ambitious attempt to look at the psychology of the girl. I feel that this was a film directed with a very sure hand behind the scenes, but was slightly thrown by the very young actress smoking a cigarette. Minor as I understand it was showing her being from the bad side of the tracks. The deeply saturated black and white photography of the film provided a classic Sam Fuller look to the film and to me worked well as a metaphor contrasting the reality of the goldilocks story and the fairy tale. Due to the reliance on narration it did make it a little hard to follow at the heat with score being much louder than dialogue hence I will re-watch but most definitely enjoyed.

Of Two Minds

As a surprise anniversary gift, a woman gives her partner the power to read minds like her when he opens up a small box she gives him. No explanation given, but that works for the better as this enthusiastic origin story works on a couple of levels with the idea of shared love through shared responsibility.

Performances were strong with the pair presented as a very believable loving couple, and the film amplified its story development as it progressed. This was definitely necessary as it was a little bit slow to start, but when the comedic notes of reading minds of the outside world came in things really kicked into gear.

Camerawork was tidy and clean with a lot of energy to how the film was edited. Personally I think the film probably just needed some dramatic momentum that had more weighting than the guy drowning his disappointment in the pub before quickly moving on. But overall nicely done charming film and I applaud you for getting outside and capturing some lovely scenery, as well as the good clean sound.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

limb

Almost an all-girl team (was I correct in reading the credits that the only male contribution was the music?) had an interesting dark colour grade, with a sense of menace throughout, as a Lyall Bay swimmer happens upon limbs after getting out of the water. Strange symbols abound and she then gets chased by something, this was almost great but overall felt like a case of style over substance.

Operation: Snuffles

Ok so I called out a team who took 28 seconds on pouring nutri grain into a bowl to start their film, so to be honest I'll need to call out the fact this took a 23 second opening shot to slowly move from a teddy bear on a bed to a box package. Just way too long to get going in 48 hours sorry team.

From here our lead actor concocts a plan with Mr. Snuffles as to how to get to his crush's house, a meticulous corkboard outlining how he will get the keys to his parent's car, but only has 2 and a half minutes to pull it off.

With dad distracted by the rugby, where yes fair play you blurred the All Blacks, although weirdly included audio of Murray Mexted commentating? This made the film seem in an out of sync year given he retired in 2012, as well as the daylight also being at odds with the 5.30pmish timeframe. Anyway, our lead makes his move, navigating past creaky stairs to get to the automobile and see his Juliet-type muse.

This was a small scale film and whilst some of the edits were nicely done, some shots and concepts simply took a little bit too long to traverse even if it was a charming familial payoff. I personally think a bit more time spent on motivation for attempting the heist would have made things more engaging, because if we had empathy for his plight then the stakes would have been raised and we as an audience would have been on the edge of our seats wanting him to succeed. By reducing the relationship to a couple of texts at the start of the film I felt it reduced the drama the film needed to truly succeed, in my opinion.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Mel the Magic Mushroom

New cellphone game takes over lives and ruins friendships, this was short and simple. Started off really well but did lose its way; I think that whilst the effect on others of the obsession was telling, in my mind the ‘relationship’ being with something like a game meant it lost that human dynamic I would have expected.

S I S

You know how a team often gives you a wink and a nod that their film is satire? If the 'Getit Images' didn't give the game away, then the fireworks metaphor for putting a baby inside someone surely should have. Deliciously funny sendup of meme culture told in a bizarre style reminiscent of GREENER GRASS, yet still some straight up poignant things to say about how we can feel invisible until the right person comes along to fulfil our lives.

But we always want more, and that dream nuclear family for many is not complete until a child enters the fray. The Cant Shack plays this to the extreme, with a low sperm count lead whose balls may as well be water balloons because of the despair it causes him.

But all is well that ends well, and in spite of its ridiculous concept that pokes fun at the elements of this competition, the decision over whether to reveal a truth or be the hero that they need by keeping a secret and living a happy life is done brilliantly as satire here.

Technically some of the film was rough, but that was part of the charm. The watermark gag might annoy some, but the camera was steady, edit was smooth, sound was audible, characters were clearly defined and we had a solid subversive story arc. Hard to complain!

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Not Everyone's Fantasy

Catty flatmates are convinced that there is something up with their flatmate, and they have reasonably good reason to think so given that they found a toilet covered in pink glitter and when they try and enter his room it seems like they are crossing a magical forcefield. This leads to the setup of some hidden cameras to try and catch what he is up to, only what they find is perhaps a bit different to what they may have expected to. The film took the piss for the most part, and really got into some funny weird territory when we got to see the camera footage. The 'wizard' and horse head/mask wanking for example brought the LOLs. In fact several memorable visual moments...being soaked in milk being another...probably a better found footage film than most who got that genre this year.

Stake & Chips

Bobby Young turns up late to a game of poker, which some people he knows have basically setup as a chance to get back at him. To be honest it seemed like he was still a bully, rather than a former one, but that's just me. The tables get turned due to Bobby (literally) holding an ace up his sleeve, and by destroying the others at poker tensions mount as he continues to torment those that brought him there through verbal insults. This wasn't too polished from a technical level I noted, with several shots being completely out of focus. Also a blunt simplistic ending which ruined it for me as I had my interest piqued when the stakes were raised to their highest.

The Dying Art of Cat Burglary

What I love about THE DYING ART OF CAT BURGLARLY, is not so much the fact that it was shot in Australia and looks great, as overseas entries are such a thrill, but that it told such a clever, unique and universal tale of said robbers doing anything to get ahead in life. It's like a keeping up with the joneses times eleven, and absolutely nails the antihero character requirement the competition asked of the team.

To immediately give more praise to the team, the editing was simply out of this world. Yes stock music was used throughout, but I was so amazed on my third watch just now to learn that several tracks were used because the tonal consistency was so strong across the entire film. It was a very smooth ride that allowed the complete focus to be on the catburglars, with a feeling of danger and excitement due to sound beats that went from pulsating to drone-like in nature as the plot beats of the film unfolded.

I also appreciate that this team not only went Ultra, but actually used the darkness of night to elevate their film through not just a central plot device of the crooks looking for cash, but the elevating relevation of the home owner being at home and having their own dramatic tension to worry about, through something unpredictable that does indeed regularly happen in the middle of the night.

The comedy was also gold, with a script that threw out such gems as thinking a pumpkin would be a good take, only to be reprimanded by the old timer, who rolled off the list of what brings in the real money with aplomb.

Ending was an all-timer, for me. Sinister, yet hilarious and very satisfying, with the aformentioned characters and how well they sold the importance of the heist making it feel earned rather than shocking. Just really solid performances all round, with the would be mum being a particular highlight due to how well she played her role physically.

The very minor quibble for me was that it reminded me a lot of LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, but that was just in feeling rather than in terms of the actual storytelling.

Congrats on the baby by the way team!

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

My Nemesis

Nicky Brick and Joseph Marlin are in the process of recording an audition tape for 'Wander in the Wilderness' and giving it a New Zealand spin with focus on our local floral fauna and how they are used culturaully for example as healing plants by Maori. However both leads dispute how they should shoot, who should do what, and the lead actress also happens to have a troubled past that links to the forest they are exploring. Very much a Blair Witch vibe but also one of the more realistic films so far in terms of actually believing someone could have stumbled upon the tape. The lead actress gave a believable performance. More in future, please.

operation resurrection

Non-linear exposition on life and death set across 2 weeks or so with unexplained loose-ends making it come across like a giallo fever dream. This film had some really lovely opening shots as a body was dragged across a beach and buried, but was followed by being out of focus the first time we saw the face of a character. It really did walk a fine line between a memorable dream and hard to comprehend storytelling as a woman followed instructions under threat from a sinister unnamed figure through to resurrection and confusion. Despite the unclear structure and hit and miss audio, this was entertaining with a crazy script and black comedy that I can't give negative marks to.

Unquenchable, Undying

After a raging drinking party where everyone gets dressed up, our fairy costume adorned lead actress falls victim to a GROUNDHOG DAY meets FINAL DESTINATION loop of death. Some inventive kills (that fork into the microwave being the highlight) and some not quite as effective deaths when it just seemed she hit her head, she starts to realise the steps she needs to take to avoid her doom. With very little dialogue it was hard for this to stand out from the other looping time travel films this year, but it never took itself too seriously. I just think that even though you went for the farcical approach some of the set pieces needed a bit more impact to really get an audience reaction.

Have You Met My Sister

Nicky Brick attends a party that it appears he does not know too many of the people there. We follow his initial scouring of the activity as he is introduced to a dangerously close brother and sister, tourists who in his opinion need to be corrected and some strangers near the bathroom who take a particular interest in how much everyone has drunk. Why? It becomes clear later. Now as to my thoughts on the film I think it is technically a solid film with whoever played Nicky doing a really solid job, and the brother/sister had just the right level of creepiness for what was actually happening in the film. It does seem in my opinion to be quite heavily indebted to Melancholia not that that's necessarily a bad thing, and the daytime party for an End of the World theme just didn't sit quite right with me, especially based on the end result of the film.

Big Horn

Short sharp little 2d animation as a young monster makes their way past a procession of elder beasts to the top of a mountain and receive their adult horns. Included all the required elements and looked nice. I enjoyed it even though it was exceptionally short, but then I absolutely love animation.

Charlotte's Dead

Entertaining escapade of a second chance to stop a young woman from being taken out and killed by a flying fox at the park. Songs were absolutely fantastic with wall-breaking lyrics that were both humorous and important to the plot of the film. Like FINAL DESTINATION but if death's target was anyone who wears headphones of doom. You know how it's actually kind of rare for every day things like going to the toilet (well, maybe not for 48hours) or blowing your nose being shown on screen? Well that was the sort of low budget cheekiness used to propel the story. Good reaction from the audience and I get the song framing device it did just need to be tightened up a bit.

Second Hand Killers

A girl who comes to buy some tables gets the shock of her life when a mother and her son seize the opportunity to prey on her + her boyfriend. I liked the vibe of this one, not much to it but it had clear influences from Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Shining. Also laughed out loud after when smashing a door down with an axe, it simply swung open with no effort.

Wink

Very serious EXTERMINATING ANGEL vibes here as guests invited to a party can't leave and one by one the number of attendees drops.

What I liked about this film was the mysterious tone where you felt unsure if watching a murder mystery game or actual extermination. If you haven't seen the Bunuel film I'm referring to in my opening paragraph I'd suggest you go out and view it immediately to understand what I'm talking about.

Short and sweet with decent sound and clean albeit relatively static camerawork that evoked a theatrical feeling of MOUSETRAP, this was an original film although a bit light in terms of storytelling.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

The Seven Slides

Hilarious black comedy escapades in a survivalist's bunker who had hunkered down as soon as the Christchurch earthquakes hit. From the get go Outcasts established a strong impending tone of doom as the group almost walked into deadly nightshade, before having to weight up whether their apocalypse ready friend had lost her marbles or not. Said survivalist was delightfully manic and carried the film strongly, and to get a sense of the film the fact that Sharknadoes off the coast were believable to the group probably hits the nail on the head. Sure fire nominee for best use of puddle. Yuck.

Hightail

Gorgeous film, from the steadicam footage outside with superb framing and understanding of lighting, to the light prisms and BLADE RUNNER inspired neon fused interiors. The exceptionally done original Vangelis-inspired new wave soundtrack was also absolutely on point as a superhero tries to teleport their way out of entrapment.

But story is king in this competition and despite the overlord's comments almost bringing this through the meta end of the tunnel by playing with the whole concept of viewership and three dimensions there was just not enough for me, personally, in terms of an engaging storyline.

It is a tough one because I feel like you were trying hard to evoke a feeling and a mood to the proceedings, giving the story engaging visual flourishes such as the nature shots and rainbow beams. But whilst visually distinctive a lot of the time it genuinely felt like style over substance as these beautiful shots did little to progress the actual plot.

There was something here that I think if it had been clearer would have really elevated the film. How we are all trapped to the screen, we are all the heroes in our own story. But glossing over these elements meant the focus was on the Audio Visual experience, and whilst memorable, would have been even better with a stronger dramatic arc.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Climatic

Took a leaf out of Grand Cheval's book (nowhere near as good as Child Jumpers, though) by doing a mockumentary that wasn't quite in that genre; plenty of talking heads but more where the team trying to save climate change were simply followed around as they tried to save the earth with the impending change supposedly happening in a matter of days. Some nice comic touches such as the email from Al Gore drew a decent audience response, but it was a one joke film and I hate talking heads in 48 Hours. EDIT 12 JUNE 2013 AFTER WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL. Boy watching this a 2nd time just made me absolutely cringe; your lead actor carries the film with an unrelenting loud in your face to the camera approach which obviously judges liked (but trust me, they all didn't love it by a long shot). The reason that downlowconcept and Grand Cheval mockos have worked in the past is by actually having character development with an emotional story arc. You had some really nice comic touches but this could have been pigeonholed to fit into any other genres.

THE NEXT BIG THING

Staff at an Inventor Company were pressured to come up with 'The Next Big Thing' by their pushy boss, however the only real success they have is wire bracelets which cause people to bleed and are a hit with emos. This was candy-coloured silliness in an office, but I honestly didn't get the ending.

Battle Royale with Cheese

Oh so short but oh so much action. I think this would actually be touch and go whether it met the 60 second requirement. An all out assault on the senses and each other as the film was basically a big brawl in a carpark as they all fought for their "last chance" that included a couple of neat night vision shots. Finger guns have been done before but it established the film's own little universe well. Good example to be honest that bigger is now always better as I'm not really sure what else could have been said outside this framework that would have matched the intensity displayed on screen.

Apple Smash

To mine this was treading a damn fine line on the Ultra requirements. I've heard the explanation that the whole film was from the child's POV making them the lead, but films entirely from someone's POV are something I watch out for and there were multiple shots of the mum and dad outside the possible scope of the view of the car that for mine clearly made them also lead characters not supporting. Subversion is bloody great but was this given a bit of a free pass? Nobody who is not a judge that I've spoken to disagreed that the parents were also lead characters rather than just supports. I don't think I've ever given a negative review to the films made by the people in this team whether Moffilaide or Simmo and Simmo and I'm not going to start now in terms of the film itself (very fun and slick as hell), I simply have gripes about Ultra and felt I had to bring it up because nobody else has. Appreciate this is technically a new team of course, and sorry for whining - I love what your team does and brings to the comp almost every year without fail! Others at the cinema described it as whimsical and I can go with that; close to the best 'heist' film in this year's comp from Wellington while at the same time being a very subversive fish out of water; a kid taken by mum and dad for their latest hit/gunfight is most definitely wrong place, wrong time shouldn't be there if you wanted a shining example. Stunt work was great and edit was on point. Huge audience laughs and kept everyone on the edge of their seat. I'm not a judge this year and they are ok with saying the adults are supporting characters, so good luck at the finals!

Spy Tunes

American spies from Virginia come to infiltrate the Beehive and report back to their government. However when caught they must try and prove to their captors that they are true blue Kiwi blokes and not Yankee infiltrators like appears entirely obvious. Songs such as 'Greatest Spy Alive' and some classic tongue in cheek humour were thoroughly enjoyable in how they made fun of Kiwi sayings and doings. The songs not so much for their musical sound which could have used a lot of polish but more for their crack up lyrics. Just seemed like the team had a really good time on the weekend and put that on screen

Heart of Wire

In a military bunker, our lead writes a love letter to his beloved that needs to get to HQ as he's about to go over the top. The film was sound from a technical level but I would have really liked more than one song for a musical, even if it was a key plot point.

The Imaginary Crime

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Well, a good question and one that takes us 7 minutes to examine. My main concern here was that almost every segment of the film was gathered around telling simplistic jokes. The big letdown was the fact that you introduced the characters and gave them backstories, and then threw these personality traits out the window. Would have actually been fun to see them behave the way you described. Your camera op has a good eye, but the script really needed work.

Broken Ties

Never taking itself too seriously, with slow moving cars and a weakness for water being our hero's biggest issue, Broken Ties used their genre as a catalyst for exploring how far friendship can be tested.

Whilst there was a perilous kidnapping involved in the plot, the fact that the film came to a conclusion of standing around and arguing next to a swimming pool about sisterly love meant that the money shot splash played like a lighthearted comic moment rather than having any real weighting. I get that you were going for what was supposed to a dramatic SAW-like 'Live or die, make your choice', but I felt that there could have been more tension, more consequence.

Audio was clear and the film had a nice colourful feeling to it with strong outfits giving visual character to the actors, and the invisibility moments were nicely edited, but just personally found the proceedings quite light.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Vicarious

A prisoner liaises with her councillor/attendant that she has been writing to get over the inability to sleep. This was more about the relationship between the two, and lacked any sense of urgency that the genre required. Well shot, but the storyline was unclear.

House of 1000 Horses

[DQ] Piss horse is coming for you...mainly set at a frat house with exploding dicks, more exploding dicks, horse pissing, and a woman giving birth to a horse amongst visual atrocities committed to screen. As per usual this was more about the experience of the visual assault than the storyline, which was slightly weaker than previous years; I understand the revenge but given that a lot of the action had no direct connection to piss horse it made it all the more surreal.

The Fallen

A space beam gone wrong allowed for some good old fashioned Trek-style fights with mutants in the bush and very entertaining Klingon-type gibberish (made all the more hilarious with a lack of subtitles). The bad makeup and deliberately ham fisted acting brought a smile to my face, this was short and sweet.

The Prototype

A scientist comes up with a new energy source, which gets stolen by an aggresively flirtatious rival; the term 'jumping someone' never really fitted better. However the scientist's assistant won't stand for the theft, so she and he set about infiltrating the office of the rival in order to get their invention back, and put egg on their face for a presentation to a leading company who could fund the project. I liked the barrel rolls, cheeky high 5 ending and the flirtatious rival had great screen presence.

The Hit

Good to see this team in the competition again as they have been a mainstay for many a year, here delivering some of their most stylish work with some really well done night time cinematography, whilst not forgetting to include some trademark humour.

After being coordinates for a target, our late night hitman then unwittingly becomes a victim himself, a victim of awful uber banter from a driver who has treats and beats available, or might just get sidetracked in a one-way conversation about fishing with his father.

I liked how the scene was set so nicely by making the audience feel warm and comfortable, before the trap was set in one of the most amazing uses of invsibility in this year's comp. Honestly seriously loved how the trap was done.

For me, whilst I liked the warm start, sinister and serious development and funny finish, I felt that the story just lacked some depth. Absolutely the trap needed to stay mysterious and was all the better for it. But I think the hitman needed a bit more backstory. And lastly, whilst I liked it, I think the tone didn't probably get the balance quite right for a wider audience by jumping between silly and deadly serious.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Affinity

I saw you had some decent gear in your intro, so not quite sure what happened with your motion problems; possibly an issue outputting in 25 frames? There was some excellent comedic back and forthing between a brother and sister 'taken your pills?' - 'nup.' but other than that, this tale of a girl who would do anything to impress her first date (after being stood up the last couple of times) was ok. It needed more action, or more adventure, or ideally a combination of both. You hit some genre troupes such as the one liners and running from baddies but needed more.

It Tolls For Thee

This was a nicely shot confession of a man's inability to stop dancing like a retard any time they hear a bell due to a misshap at a stag do. The events are well chronicled and there are some good laughs to be had. In particular the priest gives some good response that make him seem just one of the lads eg, responding that he too loves go karting. The mischievous grin he holds only reveals its true value once the film reaches its apex, of course. Well acted but too much talking for a dance film, I would have liked to have seen at least a 50% balance in favour of the genre but that's just me.

Out of Order

A very interesting concept; the mystery of the item transporter elevator which switches items when the receiver opens it up. However rather than explore that concept, it got a bit sidetracked I believe by then switching its attention to an old man's attempt to uncover the reason for his son's disappearance. It was well shot, but I felt it could have used more focus. It got the mystery vibe well though.

Fragmentation

One thing I kind of love about 48 Hours is that we sometimes get films that are for all intensive purposes not just homages but close to lo-fi remakes of Hollywood blockbusters, and boy oh boy did Sweaty Equity let off some steam and wear their COMMANDO heart on their sleeve.

Taking the call to arms after it has been 10 years, our lone commando stocks up on gear and equipment and heads out to take on an Aussie psycho. Ring a bell?...

But honestly this was a whole lot of fun. Well edited, good choices of music, excellent cinematic camera angles at times and a stone faced performance by our lead on his mission to save his brother's girl. Drone footage a definite highlight from a technical point of view.

Even the one-line quips ("Just Die!") had that Arnie-bent to it. Original? Pretty much heck no other than the serum, but I farcking loooove COMMANDO so no complaints at my end :D

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

The Gathering

Technically impressive for its genre given that it appeared to have steady framing, lighting and sound throughout as well as the actors giving reasonably strong performances. I do however get the feeling that most teams getting this genre (or choosing End of the World, as the case of 1 shot may be) took the example picture of Melancholia perhaps a bit too literally. Still, this had a decent idea with several different individuals gathering about a potential apocalypse; the skeptic reporter, the drunken scientist and the unemployed pregnant women amongst others. Probably good that it created more questions than answers in presenting the whole science vs other argument.

Red River

You know you're onto a winner for a gross-out comedy when several "OH NO"s can be heard around the cinema within 10 seconds of the film starting. Absolutely brilliantly shot with many different tight yet effective camera angles churned out in what was an impressive amount of coverage. Everything popped too, and excellent sound! The overhead shot was great too, and honestly this was close to technically flawless as the edit was also top notch. I'm feeling generous so I'll also commend the outstanding lead actress! Who knew that the idea of being out of tampons on a heavy bleed could create so many hilarious puke-inducing jokes when our heroine just wanted to get back to the rugby with her guy mates in the lounge? Bodily fluids, an inhaler, shower caps, a wild fantastical imagination and blood, oh so much blood...expect to see this contending in the Wellington final at least.

Dick, Actually

A story of things that our narrator did for love, that being of course the lovelife of his close friend Sam who he has always seen as perfect, making it tough for any man to meet his required standards.

This played out as a classic fabrication of subjective reality and jealousy, with one person's view of a suitable partner being an impossibly high pedastal, and leading to some fun comic moments of sabotage.

I did feel that some of the humour (messing with washing, toilet seat up) was lacking in punch, and presented our dogooder as simply an annoyance rather than funny man, but the culmination with the pizza was admittedly worth the price of admission.

Strong performances by the leads with our narrator in particular carrying the film nicely, and the actress who played Sam also did well with the material she was provided.

Proper conclusion very satisfying also. The thing for me dragging my marks down a little bit is me finding the humour personally not so great until the final third, and being on the fence about the use of narration at all, but I think I give it a pass due to it being an unreliable narrator which was needed for the story arc.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Mixing Spirits

After getting very tipsy at a party, a woman crashes her car and tragically kills someone, only to be freed 9 days later and get on with her life. Well, she would, if only the aggrieved brother of the victim does not give her grief and then become a constant in her life at AA meetups...

Yeah, that's going to be a pass from me guys. The age inappropriate casting was one thing, but the bigger issues I had with this film were the incredulous storyline and story beats that should have been gutwrenching yet felt wildly inappropriate.

I'm totally cool with suspension of disbelief, but, getting away with manslaughter when blind drunk? C'mon...and then the DUI killer connecting with his victim's brother? Whose 'wife' was out of town? It was honestly the least believable plotline I've seen in many a year. I just wish there had been some genuine exploring of the serious issues like the alcoholism, or the death of the girl, or the trauma for her brother, or growing to overcome these issues.

Your lead actress had good screen presence and serious 48 Hour films can be fantastic. I just think for serious subject matter you need to show impact, growth of characters or ideally both.

Technically OK. Some good camera framing at times, sound was mostly clean and editing fine. So you've clearly got the talent, I would just try a different approach next time.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 1/5
Overall: 1/5

The Voiceless

A killer with no voice and a love for hearing others sing chloroforms and kidnaps three victims, and takes them to his lair where horrible fates await unless they please his ears. Some really dark subject matter was tackled here not just with the serial killer, but the opening song being a suicide contemplation, whilst gore levels were high. I liked that you had clear diction on your songs, I think just a little bit more melody would have really nailed the genre. But given how insane everything was - I haven't even touched on the placards the killer used to tell them what he wanted due to not having a voice - I'm willing to let the flaws slide.

Broken

Bro puns galore like I have never come close to seeing before. The first few minutes of the screening did come across a little awkward with the audience not buying the humour but I did note some good laughs towards the end so well done on sticking to your guns and running with the idea like nobody ever has. Essentially a tale of a lonely obsessive who has had his vernacular developed to the point of only being able to speak in said puns and how he deals with rejection. The story itself was stock standard and from a technical pov quite flat but memorable for 5 minutes of non stop inclusion of the word bro into every word/sentence imaginable. The Leo joke was pretty good.

Project 7

Actually got the thriller part of the genre completely right as opposed to most who received this tricky genre. A good looking film of intrigue, as our lead delves deeper into something he discovers than he perhaps should, with men in ominous dark soots and a moody electronic soundtrack to boot. The use of google was comedy gold, and the chase sequence was very effect. As I said you nailed the thriller part, but the tech. part of your genre was a little bit lacking, as this is one of the few genres where you actually do need to show things for it to really work.

Flat Note

Big pat on the back for really getting stuck in and giving this genre a go. Obviously you didn't have access to the pro recording gear that some teams may have, but the fact that 90% of your film was sung does get my respect. Basically the head tenant calls a meeting to try and sort out some major flat issues, which get responses of the musical variety. I think there were three key things to this short that would have improved it; firstly, some dynamic action by having actors/camera movement rather than sitting around. Secondly, moving away from your flat as a shooting location, or if you do shoot in your flat then you need to add some eye catching visuals to make it stand out. Third, towards the end when you mixed all the songs together they did not seem to harmonise so perhaps stick to one at a time (although if that had come together it would have been great).

Wheel Love

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Go! 6.9 which followed immediately before at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

Dark Side

Our lead gets approached by a dangerous looking girl who asks for a smoke, but he is attached to his fiancee and says no. She keeps popping up in a creepy manner, culminating in a shock ending. The film looked pretty good, but the story was unoriginal and whilst something dangerous was always hinted at, there was no real tension.

Sleep Shepherds

Sock puppets again, which I loved last year, focused on two who have been dispatched at the same time to put a newborn infant to sleep. This gives them the opportunity for some comic banter and also framework to sing. I liked the opening original song, but Ba Ba Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as your other main songs to carry the film were a bit surprising to say the least. There also appeared to be a couple of technical glitches such as crew sound being clearly heard on at least one take. In my opinion it needed more original music.

A Tale of Two Bricks

Spandex suits with the 'superhero' eradicating crime but turning those he saves against him, because his moral guidelines are whack and hence the laws being broken may not be as such in terms of actual statutes. Only issue is, the hero in question is the father of the Nicky Brick who has aspirations to dance. This film didn't bother taking itself too seriously which lead to some nice dark humour; the actor who played the senior Brick Barry, was particularly memorable. A good level of colour on screen mixed it up well and whilst some of the jokes fell a bit flat I was engaged. Taking over the family business is never a smooth process if you don't believe in the product.

Your Lie in June

Three years into a relationship and it's the perfect time for a proposal in a carpark, but a shootout and sudden gun showing reveals cracks in the relationship of our 2 leads that are more like chasms. I liked the idea of love conquers all being presented here, and playing it deadpan in terms of dialogue was probably a smart option. Reveled in ridiculousness, and whilst the team kinda said screw you to the request to be respectful with guns, it all worked within the story for me. Nollywood quality squib effects brought the house down, while whoever played the character with the blonde wig could be up for a Wellington best actor nomination in my book.

1AM

This was a pretty simplistic idea of the blood of victims apparently being the cure for insomnia, as a character relays the ancient Amarian ritual regarding this to other cast members. Of course with with Mr Meyer being on the brink of losing his mind due to not getting 40 winks, all signs lead to death. I felt you could have really fleshed this out having given the explanation at the beginning. The cyclical nature of the short was decent but a murderous killing spree really needs something more to differentiate it from the others.

You only YOLO once

A holiday from hell from an Instagram power couple, complete with sinister German host, horrific toilet and a menu that looks like the cook killed everything before serving it up. I liked the parody of the good old gram with the wife, and the fact that there were no complaints despite the place being an absolute shithole essentially reflected the mood of the film. Basically the couple were having their holiday and would present it to their followers in the best possible light for the likes at all costs. Literally whatever it takes for likes even if it kills them. I get the bleak ending given the whole thing was pitch black comedy, I'm just not sure it was terribly funny is all.

A Problem With Tomatoes

This team apologised for their audio before the film played due to having to use a backup mic, and to be honest guys whilst the levels were a bit loud at times, it was nowhere near the worst I've come across in 48 Hours. Probably better than half the films this year anyway. A blind or internet date goes fairly horribly wrong for our Nicky Brick when he is knocked out and handcuffed to the bed with a satanic sign painted on his chest by his potential date for her coven (and garden). What follows is a good level of interplay between the two, as well as another particularly energetic supporting actor. The virgin jokes were clever (not sure why they didn't get more laughs) and the both leads were really good. The woman who played 'Storm' was quite a stunner.

The Moist

Truly one of the more disgusting 48hours entries ever for Wellington, this short rocked my world. I've promised the director I won't give too much away, but let's just say that in a crudely animated retirement home lounge, some of the residents are feeling a bit chilly. However something lurks where the heater is, and despite the aggressive warden trying to calm down the senial old farts, it all gets a bit...messy. Genitals, extreme gore and an unusual animal make an appearance here, which left more than a few jaws scrapping the floor in shock. Also bloody hilarious and a serious Spike and Mike vibe as per usual from this team.

Not All Drug Dealers Wear Capes

Wearing their love for the New Beverly Cinema owner on their sleeve, this superhero film was told in chapters as the two women in the flat played sleuth and speculators regarding their male flatmate's strange behaviour.

A blackeye and a burner phone only add to their paranoia, and it is fun to see them have a eureka! moment by pinning everything on his being a drug dealer. Though at the same time not seeing the forrest from the trees as the guy takes mysterious phone calls and chases people down with the women oblivious.

For mine, the comedic highlight of the film was the line "it's one of 2 things, either drugs...or meth" as the flatmate leading the investigation played is straight on her cork board of findings.

One of the issues for me is that everything lead to a fairly predictable throwaway joke at the end, although I genuinely loved your little VFX fly away shot.

On a technical level I personally felt things just needed more punch, with a couple of audio clicks and fuzz on the soundtrack, whereas some folley or additional sound design could have done wonders.

More punch applies to where the script could have improved too. Whilst I appreciate the idea may have been to make the women as believable everyday people, the audio mix was very quiet to begin the film, with not much emotion or dramatic impact about what they were speculating on until well into the film when we got to the cork board. I'm not saying to have the characters yell but something that indicated the stakes had been raised would have helped the film a lot.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Awake Like An Egyptian

Last year’s best bad film winners really did not change their style too much, complete with shooting in Black and White again, but the laughs were more chuckles this time around than belly aches. Starting in 1210BC with a curse on a newy tombed mummy, we converged into the 60s as a tenuous family link was made.

The Ballad of Nicky Brick

A cowboy type strumming their guitar on the beach works as a nice introduction to this tale that happened once upon a time when Nicky Brick who had no friends to help him out on 48 Hours went on a bit of a quest. Very clever lyrics and well shot for the most part (although at times a bit music-videoy which is a backhanded compliment, but the fourth wall singing could have been toned down a little in my view), this was probably a better fantasy adventure film than most of the entries in that genre so far despite not having too much mystical going on. Solving riddles, questing for the leaf of luck and dealing with a curious old man with a beard warmer made this quite a fun watch.

Lorcation Lorcation Lorcation

Well wasn't this topical with the Housing measures announced this week! Not quite sure where the team was implying this film was set with the opening landscape shot of Auckland harbour, but ok! Anyway, when a real estate agent with classic corny fake teeth offers a house for a price that seems too good to be true, thirsty would be home owners jump at the chance only to quickly realise the house it not all that it seems to be.

I have to admit that SHREK but the curse is tied to clearing a mortgage was pretty genius. Though I was a bit confused as to why a bargain priced house would take 300 years to pay off? Nevertheless the team upped the ante by going with Orcs rather than trolls (this is Middle Earth, after all) who have a hunger for more than just pizza.

Payoff was simply brilliant. An absolute zinger that brought my subdivided attention to laughter.

Honestly this reminded me so much of classic z-grade 48 Hours from yesteryear. If you've done your homework on Taika's early fake teeth efforts then I applaud you. Your real estate agent was the star here, though some of the quips in the script such as not really being monsters due to how things played out was comedy gold.

My main areas I noted that dragged the film down a bit was the lighting, and the big one for me was the camerawork. For such a fantastical film it was very static and tripod-set, whilst some of the framing was crammed for example having multiple characters on screen where some were just standing around. A focused shot would have allowed more attention to be drawn to your zany costumes and well done orc makeup, in my opinion. Lots of promise here, though.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 1.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5

The Fruitalian Job

One for the pun enthusiasts with the film focused on two sets of characters; would be fruit smugglers and those would prevent them. The film started slowly with the first half script being a bit cringe worthy with all those puns, and for some reason the acting not really picking up until the second half of the film. The climax of this one though, is indeed terrific. Pushing boundaries for where bobbing for apples have never gone before, the visual action improves as the two groups come head to head. A manic foul mouthed dealer definitely the acting highlight, the clearest area the film could have improved was audio which seemed to be mixed raw and loud. Perhaps have some more music next year?

SHE'S OUT OF THIS WORLD

Warriors fight for the right to marry the Princess Junkadia (sp?) on Planet Falcor, but she wants to marry for love and not just who is the strongest and therefore flies off to Planet Earth to get away from the barbaric tradition of her people. Running into an Earthling who can show her our ways of life is of course a refreshing change, but the warriors also possess the ability to fly between planets so could catch up with her at any time. Effects were great as always but I also thought this was verging on being more of a Fantasy Adventure than Rom Com with the whole 5th Element meets Superman 2 vibe that I was getting (and a lot of the ideas being the same as those films). The laughs are more based on character expression and some 'oh shit didn't see that coming!' [usually from the outstanding fx] than script based dialogue that I've come to expect to entertain me from this team. Having said that the chemistry between the two leads is decent, and her stalking him is a nice change-up to the standard romcom formula. But yes the ending dare I say it did feel quite formulaic and forced, even. Hard to rate this one on its own terms knowing the team's fantastic body of work but not quite as good as previous years apart from the fx improving even more.

BRICK

Thanks for the quotes in the intro guys, you're free to use what I say for your films any time hehe. On to the film which showed a more restrained hand in terms of developing a plot this year, before the usual gonzo incredibly strange action kicked in. Probably lucky the pregnant Wellington judge wasn't here tonight as the baby kidnapping and dropping was pretty twisted. Taking an infant is easy money right? And whoever has their newborn removed from their care should be happy to pay to get their beloved back right? Probably a good plan, if only it all doesn't get ahem bloody messy when Nicky Brick is in the mix and not exactly a lucky Irishman. The ransom note was quirky and impressive moustache was impressive. Mean-spirited and there were moments that could have had some more script development (the criminal buddies had good chemisry for example), but enjoyable again at least for me.

Blade of Insomnia

A martial arts teacher shuts down his dojo after an accidental death under his watch, and the rest of the film was mostly about his mental anguish/fighting other warriors in his dreams. Despite the disclaimer that this would be the most random film we'd see in 48 hours this year I'd disagree as I've already seen my fair share of animal outfits and ninjas this year. It was actually relatively straightforward compared to a lot of other films, with some nice shots, it was just very tedious. Given the martial arts training at the beginning it would have been nice to see some proper martial arts fighting given you had action as your genre.

Wilted Rose

Oh, after rewatching this film my mind just got blown that Cowps Productions and HS Films are effectively the same team! Amazing work everyone, it is bloody impressive to make one film in 48 Hours let alone 2 finalists in your city so I tip my hat to you!

Hear we had the classic 48 Hours 'one shot' film as a newcomer to the town introduced himself to a woman and asked her if she needed help, before each character bonded with each other through their expository backstories.

Well done on your second place in Gisborne, it is technically impressive to pull off this sort of film, though I did notice several instances of wind warble on the soundtrack in the first half of the film. The camerawork was nice, and the film was cleanly shot despite being shot near sunset.

As a horror film it did not work for me, there was zero tension for me personally which I think is a must even in a subversive approach. A leisurely character piece that was more a romance than anything for 90% of the runtime could honestly not be further from what I would imagine for the genre. Personally even the ending was a bit iffy as it just seemed like a jealous angry boyfriend annoyed that somebody else come to his love's grave. Were there heavy hints of domestic abuse, and potentially murder? Yes, and this sort of topic could have hit so incredibly hard, but instead the 'shock' ending where you were supposed to piece everything back together didn't quite work for me sorry.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2/5

Zleepers

Clowns teleport to earth and rap/sing about them hoping this planet will allow them to chance to sleep for the first time in 10 million years. A couple of good ultra low budget physical effect jokes (gloves as beards, 'zzz' paper drawn out of a mouth), unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of clowns and the music was random rather than catchy or melodic.

Rekindled Spirits

Bloody well done campfire animation reminiscent of Mukpuddy's classic Auckland winner from 2007 'Camp Fear', with terrific voicework, even catchier tunes, and the most charming ghost unicorn this side of South Africa.

With a plotline of saving a stressed marriage through paranormal reality TV at a haunted lake, things get a bit spooky when wet blanket dark humoured Trevor leaves his wife June alone and she starts hearing voices. How things progress from there are surprising to say the least as passion is rekindled near the kindling stoking the campfire.

Honestly these were some of the best songs I've heard in years in this competition. "Best Things Come in Threes" was an absolute jam, with the verbal dexterity and delivery simply joyous. I've mentioned the voice work earlier, but how you gave life to June, Trevor, and the charming seductive ghost was fantastic.

Animation was really high quality, with well textured backgrounds, bright colours, and subtle but engaging touches like eye movements keeping characters alive at all times, let alone the well done crackling fire. I also liked the edit, moving from wide shot to close up with a necessary but never overdone efficiency that takes a lot of craft to pull off in animation.

I could actually see this make the grand final. It's kind of a hard film to find fault with really, my only nitpick being the opening exchanges between June and Trevor whilst engaging and setting the scene were a little stand and deliver/static, but things very quickly turn around, and building bigger and bigger with your story beats is always a good thing.

Oh yeah and absolutely nailed both the heartbeat and invisibility requirements.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Accidental Candyman

Currently not DQ, but from what I understand this one is on right on the line given that 48 Hours is actually not generally ok for fair use parodies, given that it is a commercial competition (and that is despite what the law says; there has been quite a hard line on this sort of stuff since a fantastic short in Auckland called 'Discount Taxi Driver' was DQ a few years back). Trapped in the Closet parodied with subtitled singing about a guy who has just got out of jail [currently in a halfway house] trying to stay clean, who is asked to do one last drug pick up job for his best friend. Beautifully shot, and well sung, I expect it to be kept out of the finals because it goes a bit too far with the 'recreation'. The team apparently recreated the music themselves, but from someone who has watched R. Kelly's shorts an awful lot, this was way too close in my view. Ballsy to do a musical when it wasn't your genre, I would have recommended going by what the 48 Hours page said rather than consulting any legal experts.

Mary's Descent

Placeholder review.

R.I.T.A

Great audio jokes abounded as a relaxation Android gets unpacked and tries every setting it knows in order to please its master. The actress who played the android did a fantastic job and I have just cracked up again laughing whilst writing this review thinking about those whale sounds.

Chasing Alexis

So this would have been a 4/5 apart from the fact that the team sung ‘I Will Survive’ acapella without clearance (as far as I’m aware, please correct me if I’m wrong). Fantastic energy levels throughout ranging from a party to the morning after on the beach to piecing back together the events of the night prior. Said Hangover-inspired quest produced some excellent visual jokes.

LOVE.EXE

Genuinely jawdropping 3d animation the likes of which I have never seen before in 48Hours, this absolutely fucking amazing film plays like something you would showreel to Pixar and get hired for on the spot. However it was done I don't really care it instantly reached the absolute upper all time echelon of this competition, and did so without a word being spoken by the characters. Move aside Charlotte by the Linemen (2009 National Champion); there is a new best animated 48hours film for all to marvel over. Effectively inspired by WALL-E, WALKABOUT and the video game JOURNEY the film represents the quest for love that is in all of us; big or small, short or tall, robot or tumbleweed. It could have also fit into dystopian given the vast abandoned desert which may seem some instantly lumping it with Andrew Stanton's film. However the film-making rhythms and beats are so pitch perfect across the less than 4 minute run time that you realise this really is about the search for embrace rather than just for friendship. Beautiful, quirky, charming, melancholic and touching with a spine tingling score that seems to go from Clint Mansell sonics to Thomas Newman delicacy in the blink of an eye. Nevermind the incredible sound design! This might be a huge call but this is possibly the best 48Hours film I have ever seen.

Steve and Friends

A 'Rainbow' style puppet kids show host loses the plot when his role is taken over by a cardboard cutout of himself. Good use of the required prop and perhaps a better unintentional black comedy than several films that got that genre. My main grip with the film was the lack of a strong story arc and any sort of dynamic film making. Short films in particular can work with simple camera work, even static as the case may be and this can even translate well to feature length cinema (Ceylan, Tarr, Tarkovsky etc) but for a simplistic film such as was presented I would have preferred a dramatic arc that gave us a clearer beginning, middle and end. The way the film presented suffered from the randomness of evens presented. Your lead clearly gave it his all which I commend.

Blood Love

Terrific performance by the lead actress playing Mallory, a half-vampire who is determined not to see men as meat. This blood-soaked tale of gothic longing threw many ideas at the screen, creating a mis en scene of love and lust, with a nice level of desaturation to the colour timing, selling the classical mood.

From teeth filing, to invsibility cream through to commentary on dating apps via netflix and kills this ran the gamut, but with a nicely paced edit that allowed the characters to develop and breathe. My only minor quibbles were that I personally felt the sound was a tad up and down at times, and I'm not quite sure the ending was as tight as it could have been, although the final shot was fantastic.

Oh and really good use of the heartbeat too, especially given it was story-relevant! Also whilst I'm not usually a fan of narration in 48 Hours, it was well done here.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Ick

Kind of hard to review without mentioning them as a Lego team and I guess I already have. Luckily it wasn't just static activity, however, with the characters' faces having computer generated mouth movements/facial expressionss where need be. We follow a trio of brothers sent on a quest by their Queen mother. One tall and handsome, another also tall and handsome but with the ability to crack open nuts with his butt and the third a bit of an underdog who survived a piano falling on them. Only there are obstacles in the way such as giant frogs and a crazy woman. Enjoyable, but some of the jokes fell a bit flat.

Good Girl

Traces Of Nut have knocked it out of the park yet again with a film as unique and original as you are likely to see in the comp on any given year. Can we give best performer to Winchester Hewiberts the First please? In all seriousness though, Emma Draper did a terrific job carrying the film and leading the 9 marvelous doggos around.

Highlighting the dangers of paying more attention to self-help podcasts than where you are walking, 'Good Girl' was a simply marvelous full circle type short that harkened back to ideas laid out as groundwork at the beginning of the film, and then explosively laid bare by the end, with an ultimate theme of putting others ahead of yourself through sacrifice.

Yes it was Splatter genre, and yes did they knock that out of the park in the most outrageous and inventive way possible. It could have been simple and gone for shock and comedy, but there was a resonating depth here that was sold by a great script.

Editing smooth as butter. I always love how Traces of Nut films are so well framed that you never notice the edit from one transiton to the next, with your attention as a viewer always directed to the optimal spot.

Camerawork fantastic. It cannot have been easy managing all those loveable canines (and how did you get so many? To behave so well together??). Good gear used yes, but I would implore everyone to see what a massive difference having every single shot properly lit, even with natural lighting, and in razor sharp focus can do to elevate your short.

Great job team!

Story: 5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

a nipple in time

Time travel through nipple twisting, a much better way to spend a Saturday night than having a pizza party with your flatmate right? This was wild. At times wearing its influences directly on its sleeve in relation to a certain Dan Harmon animated show (and DAYS OF FUTURE PAST), but the fact this was an accidental case of breaking the space-time continuum allowed the team to go hard with covering a heck of a lot of different periods in history, both past and future. It also had a bizarrely close parallel in plot structure with last year's Wellington finalist 'A Wine in Time' by Team! but whether the team saw that or not I don't know and a little bit irrelevant, much like their self-declared use of iphone which I honestly wouldn't have noticed if they hadn't hammed it up in the team intro given the high grade cinematography in general. As I alluded to earlier, things got bonkers and fairly promptly, as rip focus basically crammed as many things as they could think of into the maximum allotted running time allowed. I don't think this was the best idea in terms of providing us with a clear storyline, as whilst the jokes came thick and fast from cavemen to talking through instruments via headtrip insanity and colonialists, that's just it, they were jokes and the weighting of any time travel didn't really have any impact on the characters or let the film breathe/the viewer enage. The almost break of the continuum ala Marty McFly was probably the highlight of the film as it actually felt like the inane silliness could have some repercussions. Although I did chortle at the Maccas discussion.

Time to spare

After getting bored watching TV (please don't use actual TV footage in future, it's a big no-no under the competition rules), the chance to win $500k suddenly gets Vic Meyer excited and he races towards Wellington Town Hall to try and collect. I sat in wide eyed amazement as our lead shuffled his bdsm gear to the side of the kitchen bench before picking up his keys. Just about the whole thing was shot POV, and whilst there were some nice shots, the editing needed some work especially as geographical continuity errors in Wellington are a bit of a bugbear. At least you stuck to your genre.

Experiment 24696

Great time lapse shot of Wellington to start; one of the most beautiful images I have seen so far in the competition. From here the team presented a nice cinematic vision (contrast pumped up) of a man coming to grips with the fact that he may not be human. Also nice sound design and the lead actor had good screen presence, although the film ended a bit abruptly.

Sleve McDichael's Guide to Success

Like LIMITLESS but with faeces instead of drugs, and the lead is a motivational speaker instead of a struggling writer. Grossed me out! Very strong performance by the lead actor who was fearless in the face of gobbling poop to be more like Tony Robbins. Script was good, and mostly well shot but some of the camerawork was a bit unsteady and the theaters theoretically being full of audience members unfortunately did have the vibe of empty school halls. I'm giving this a pretty good rating as the final act with the Himalayan vomit and man in goat suit was a sight to behold.

Naked Bug, Money

Contrasting stories between 2 crooks on the run and a scientific videographer/tv show naturist. The recent escapees built up some good rapport as buddies, but ended up being quite mean spirited. I guess that's acceptable given how strung out they would be in real life. The guy getting footage of worms had much better screen presence, although the same joke was used a few two many times. The convergence really felt abrupt which is what brought the rating down.

NUMBER 15

Detective Mallory and big mouthed Detective Inspector Munro head out to the farm to investigate a sinister crime after a kid gets knobbled, with the burnt banana and coffee smell of the 'tropics' immediately setting the scene as they drive in. Cue hysterical grieving mother and red herrings before we get to the scene of the crime.

I'm a bit torn on this one because I'm genuinely not sure if the team was trying to play things seriously, or as a deliberate Z-grade black comedy. I have to assume the latter given the constant whistling motif every time the very obvious killer said something. But here's the thing...if you're going for something to be a deliberate black comedy it only really works if there are humorous elements that come to light when the material is delivered directy.

...So maybe the team was playing it seriously? In which case in my personal opinion the film had significant shortcomings because there was practically no tonal differentiation in any of the line deliveries. Everything being talked about so flatly made it hard to resonate with any of the characters. When we finally get some emotion it's just before that mean spirited ending of "yes I'm the killer you will be my 15th victim!" which was just absolutely woeful in my book. The comedic relief of a gunshot that goes nowhere near the attacker also missed the mark, no pun intended.

On the positive side there were some really nicely framed shots, but unfortunately this got nullified by the handful of fuzzy out of focus shots that were peppered throughout.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1/5

Joyless Pussies

Like it or not, grief is something that everyone deals with in our lives, and so the idea of a support group when our lead actress has lost her dearly beloved cat and goes to a support group seemed like the buildup for a really touching but potentially straightforward film here...ONLY HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHAT IS THIS BONKERS MADNESS?!

Wow. Like honestly this was one of my personal favourites this year across NZ. I'm not sure if it's obvious but I absolutely adore trash cinema, and so this love letter to 2019's golden raspberry sweeper was a sight for sore eyes to me. That makeup. That dedication to Tom Hooper's stinker as the support group is the furthest from normal cat lovers you could possibly imagine. Just wow!

But in spite of the bizarre subject matter, it spoke to me on many ways about how easily cults get formed by collectives and just how passionate people get about things in general. One person's trash is another's treasure. Yet most importantly it brought things home with a human element.

I also thought your lead actress gave a wonderful performance and the script was exquisite.

Technically a tad raw in terms of cinematography and edit (sound was really good, though), but this will stay with me for a very long time. Thank you!

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Buckets of Love

Excellent performance by Jackson Wood as...himself?? Nice twist on the obsession with an inanimate object contrasted with an actual real developing relationship with a person. Clever script, and a brave performance to go and get soaked on Cuba Street in the middle of May. Zany is a word that comes to mind, I noted minor sound level issues, but the team wore their guerrilla low budget approach with pride.

The Lamphouse

Figure out our own plot you say? A moth is drawn to a lamphouse. A murderous crime is committed and moths are set aflutter. Whilst not butterflies, call it a butterfly effect if you will as the imbalance of nature makes the flying creatures realise their lighthouse keeper has passed. Extremely abstract, extremely beautiful, if I was to hazard a guess I would also say this was commentary on how we as humans are drawn to death and destruction due to its beauty (for some) much likes moths are victims of their own destruction when flying into a burning glowing light. The moon of course representing the lunacy of the circle of life.

But that might be a reach! Like you said team, make of it what you will.

To me this gets a very low personal grade on the elements due to feeling they were not really used story wise at all other than the reaction shot.

Story: 2.5(?)/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 1/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Chasing The Beat

Wrong place wrong time and the chase is on in Naenae. Clever camerawork including a good drone shot to highlight the comedy of a scooter and a bike respectively chasing a runner. The quick wit of Charlie Flowers was a good way of utilising the thoughtful element of the character, the jandal throw was hilarious and that was some seriously slick rhyming and flow that you dropped at the end of the film although the sound outside of the musical sequence could have done with some more polish. Nice work.

Full House

I appreciate unsettling your audience. For me, to have an effective film that has this with its ultimate goal, you want to start on a level and then build towards the payoff. What this film did; an unpleasant tale of domestics gone awry, was to start negatively and finish in an unpleasant manner. This meant that our lead actor's swearing outbursts and violence felt a bit jarring. There were moments which indicated a more peaceful domestic situation, and his obsession could have been what gave rise to the situation, but the fact that they were only glanced at meant the actions felt unjustified on the whole.

Taylors Escape

Made the case that what we do as a child affects us as an adult, where young Call of Duty fan Taylor ended up in the military. However also introverted the expectation of dealing with battling parents when push came to shove which was a nice touch. Breaking the 4th wall was a nice touch also and your young lead carried the film well. I do wish that the cuts between footage that had music to the different time zone with only camera sound had been a bit smoother as it took me out of the moment.

Lady Red and the Blue Goop

Placeholder review.

I Heart NZ?

I'm not much of an animator myself so I'm not sure if I'm using the right terminology but appeared that just about this whole thing was fairly garishly rotoscoped with plenty of colour throughout? It did give itself a unique sense of style by doing this, but also meant it was hard to focus on what was happening story wise. Not that there was really much of a story, with a rambling rap about the bad aspects of New Zealand and how a lot of culture/social activity occures being commented on. Of course what would a rom com be without a romantic subject, right? Although doesn't really work if the romantic subject is a place or metaphor, in my opinion. It was a daring film but the lack of an actual story or structure and that fact that the rapping was really bad meant I did not enjoy it.

Jaded

Brave filmmaking here with some gobsmacking cinematography and clearly high-end equipment. Technically just really on point with A-grade editing and sound to top things off. That party was absolutely pumping without seeming staged. That's not to mention the virtuoso naturalistic performances in particular by the lead who conveyed a wide array of emotions from happy go lucky through party animal and desperate fuckup. Fair cop for giving this one a warning as class A drugs are not something you see very often in this comp, but whilst the repercussions were harrowing there was never a hint of exploitation or intention to shock from the filmmakers. Personally those rooftop scenes and contemplation of life were even harder to watch but that's because they looked almost identical to the site of a personal tragedy. Coming back to the wizardy behind the scenes can I also just add that the I noted the lighting was great? And ooh yes this is subversive of its genre in a good way. Foreboding plot, impactful results.

Tea Jerker

From the over-the-top start of this film I thought initially that there was an early contender for best worst film in Wellington. However, the film actually got a lot better soon after the initial hysterics and you realise what the plot boils down to. Basically the lead gets accused/grilled about wanking crimes by a couple of cops, but the film builds to better and better jizz jokes as it moves forwards. Great manic stuff and there was some superb grading on the cinematography.

Full-Night

Well this was a tantalising little film that left me wondering what would happen next, capturing the erotic part quite and the intrigue it created at the end being enough to satisfy me re: its thriller quotient. Having been texted to cum ova 4 a feast, might get luky, our Nicky does exactly what he's told. And given the apparent interest shown in him as soon as he walks in the door, who wouldn't, right? Of course blindfolds and restraints aren't always the best things to have applied when you soon realise that a party of 2 might never have been the intended course of action. I would have liked a little more dialogue but appreciate keeping it up for interpretation.

Wunderbailout

After hearing that Greece might be sold to a shady businessman to become Southern Germany, a patriot goes an an action packed recovery mission to stop the deal from going down. Before doing this I might let you know that they happened to come out of the harbour dripping wet in some tight togs, which set the tone for the film's style of humour throughout. Not realistic that he will go it alone, he gets a sexy French sidekick in on the act with her being proficient at using baguettes as weapons amongst other talents. Chock full of one liner puns the plot was formulaic but delivered with aplomb.

Flower Boys

Be still my beating heart this was achingly beautiful and a rare example of mature, well-handled queer cinema in this competition. There's some adult teams who could absolutely take a leaf or 10 out of this team's book because they put a lot of teams to genuine shame this year simply by making a touching love story between 2 young thespians. With an affinity for the bard himself and keeping physically active through running, the two young men studying Shakespeare catch each other's eye but the delicate propositioning always had something beyond their control getting in the way of their path. This was a well-thought out gentle yet charming film with a few technical bumps such as the opening couple of shots being out of focus and wind on the audio track for several outside shots, plus a couple of areas where the edit could have been tightened such as the overly long establishment that one character loved tea, however I'm giving high marks because it was a raw open window into young love that struck a chord. Whilst I may seem negative about the issues behind the scenes, I should note that the camera work was very solid and tidy in terms of framing and drawing the audience in.

The Calling Card Killer

Good team intro, good script and a good performance by the lead actress. Due to the fact that a serial killer had been giving calling cards to their victims before death, our lead follows each instruction she receives to the letter in a race against the clock (time limits are given on each card). My only real problem was the massive geographical errors in relation to Wellington which happened throughout the film; 10 minutes to run from Oriental Bay to the Botanical Rose Gardens??

Hannah's Boring Life

You know how I have fairly regularly commented about not liking narration too much in 48Hours? Well Toot Toot sent me spinning back to my cave with a delirious meta take that flipped the script on the required elements of this competition without actually breaking the fourth wall. Props also for the burns on Shortland Street and the banality of TV addiction.

The opening shot was just genius. Literally as I'm about to jod down tedious long shot not developing the plot or character, I had it done for me to my wide eyed surprise. From there, things got weird in the best possible way with a script that kept one step ahead of any competition jaded viewers at all times.

Ever fed up with an omnipotent narrator? Well Hannah does her best to do something about it and prove that her so called boring life is not so boring after all.

Lead actress = outstanding. Script fantastic. Lighting excellent. My biggest concern is actually if this fit the box for the genre. I absolutely loved all of the subvervise and meta elements in general, but I felt like the riddle with the clock ticking was arguably throway for a joke rather than central to the plot in terms of Hannah's race against time.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Scooter Girl

An Ed Sheeran loving girl falls in love with the neighbours' scooter, much to her mother's annoyance (and fair enough to, having just bought her a really nice car). The flowing hair shots on the scooter were nice, but obsessing over an inanimate object meant that this lacked dramatic impact, especially as we were not given clear reason for the preference when the girl appeared to have it good otherwise.

F.I.O.N.A

Interesting dive into the world of androids, and what a suitable use is for them covering office work through personal relationships. I liked how the film sold the idea of this future, with the girl who played the android really commanding the screen. It was quite eery how the almost drone or zombified robotic approach to work is how a lot of people actually feel when typing away at an office. I think some of the big ideas here could have been explored a bit further, because going into THE BIG SICK sort of territory of thinking a partner might not wake up and what repercussions there might be if a replacement is brought into the mix, android or not, was really deep at least to me. The ingenuity on show here was very positive, and whilst the story was a bit unclear I liked the ambition. In a way the lack of clarity and so many thought provoking concepts being raised actually helped rather than hindered the film. Main thing that would have improved the film would have been a tighter edit as it some of the cuts were a bit rushed, whilst other shots were held probably too long.

State of Park

Park Security Ranger with a penchant for giving out fines vs a candy bar wrapper dropper resulted in an awful lot of laughs in this film, which played tremendously well to a crowd when I saw it at the Roxy upstairs foyer screening. Also, how on earth did you do that moving invisible field barrier? It was probably something incredibly simple in After Effects but nevertheless impressed me a lot.

Strong performances by your actors, with a tone reminiscent of SUPER TROOPERS as the stakes continued to get raised from the remnants holding the chocolate bar to something a bit ickier that is also brown...what an ending.

As always, loathe to criticise sound but the 2 people sitting next to me at the screenings both made comments about the sound having issues for them. The main thing we noticed (and apparent here again on youtube) is dialogue sounded a bit watery at times in particular when field sound was included where characters were far away from the camera exploring the invisible field. Definitely not saying bad, just noticeble.

I found it highly entertaining that you combined gross out comedy with your sci-fi requirement, and the antihero element was really well done. Probably went close to the Wellington shortlist, I imagine.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Small Fish Big City

Great script delivered at machine gun pace, great gags. That fish, that song. So catchy!

That’s What Big Sisters Are For

A story of loss, guilt and family as a woman comes to terms with something terrible that she deems was her fault, but that was never meant to happen.

I felt that this film had some absolutely terrific shots and cinematography, but the plot got a little bit muddled for mine. Apologies for not having more to say I could tell you were going for the show don't tell approach and a serious tone. Good performance by your lead actress conveying these dark thoughts I just felt there needed to be a few more coherent plot beats.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Trapped in the Act

Nice take on the genre; I'm guessing you saw the Martin Freeman starring world 48 Hours winner from a couple of years back? A mime in Civic Square felt that they were trapped in a concrete cubile, much to their friends' amusement and his frustration. I thought the switch between scenes of reality and the mind entrapment were exceptional, but the ending came a bit abruptly.

Girl with Fig

My notes say this had really good cinematography, and the script was good too as a tradee lets his girlfriend in to the shed of the hoarder he is working for when she offers him a picnic lunch, after said hoarder has gone out to change some locks. Given curiousity killed the cat and her art history knowledge this leads to a precarious scenario for our snoops. Given this had some revelations in it I don't want to give too much away in my review. Acting performances were strong the only thing I wasn't 100% convinced on was the ending which wasn't entirely satisfactory, though I did appreciate the motivation for the "thefts". Art should be seen not locked in dark vaults!

KILL THE CHILD

This played in Heat 19. So this just happened. A demonic scatterbrained bloodfilled homage to Trash Humpers, or at least it wanted to be. The ritualistic cultists appear to bathe in blood with an intention to lure in their childhood neighbours on the promise of giving them lolly money. Trust me that's just my own interpretation of the images and sounds I just watched. I think the team might be quietly laughing that someone actually tried to make any sense of it. Some of the action had a Texas Chain Saw Masacre feel to it, but by and large it was an experience rather than a film. Shame I can't give a no rating option as I'm torn between giving it the lowest and highest possible rating. I'll give it high because its a DQ film and don't see that harming anyone.

Release of the Monkeys

Victims going missing turning into a bunch of manic but entertaining torture was the order of the day. This had some nice, although interpolated, establishing shots with some lovely comments from boy to girl prior to snatching meaning you at least cared a little. Good energy and the cackling off our psychopath did reach a level of over the top so bad it was great.

Life is Better With You

Not sure why I noted the team name as 'Exit Sign'? but that's by the by. This was an engaging and very enjoyable film to watch close out the Wellington heats for 2018 as a guy obsessed with asking a girl out simply will not take the hint that she is not interested, no matter how many times she rejects him. Yes this ranges from mid-exam through lady's bathroom and on to her house. So creepy and stalkerish but done in a really lighthearted way showing that you can make good comedy out of any situation. The back yard barrel rolls deservedly got some loud laughs and your lead actor really had something highly watchable about him, nailing every line that came out of his mouth. The payoff was fantastic it was just a bit rough around the edges from a technical pov.

The Score

Now that was a long 30 second intro. A regular Casanova with magic hands manages to work his way his way into the hearts and tongues of quite a few young women across the course of the film. However treating them as things to be used is obviously not an acceptable way to act, and so a plot is set in place to look to stop those hands from working their magic any further. The ease with which he hooked up with anyone he wanted got some good responsive laughs, but it also meant that the plot was a bit thin.

A Dinner For Sinners

Oh man that opening shot of the record playing was majestic. Deeply crisply saturated black and white art just oozing out of the frame...only for the film to unfortunately fall really flat for me in terms of the actual plot. Murderous and cold dinner party with a heavily bound and gagged woman being talked at about God's will and armageddon, this explored a slice of the SE7EN concept but without really offering much new other than a much more questionable explanation for murder than John Doe ever did. I'm pretty over violence against women in this competition :(

Petra's Pet Perils III: Dog Gone

Now here was a film with a massive visual point of difference, seemingly inspired by 1990s FMV games such as NIGHT TRAP and THE 7TH GUEST in terms of presentation, with pixelated imagery that at times was indeed pillowboxed to about 240p much like those games of yesteryear, although a CARMEN SANDIEGO-like UI framework did allow a full 4:3 Academy 1080p frame to be presentated for most of the film.

Onto the film itself, where a naughty dog runs off with its owners keys in the rain after being let out of the car, leading to Petra investigating a mysterious house complete with knife throwing women and Margaret Scratcher, an invisible cat. Of course what would a video game be without a boss to defeat, with would-be pooch stealer Xanthe stealing the show and only true love being able to save the day.

The performances were strong, with each character in the film having a uniquely identifiable screen persona, and the music in particular replicated my nostalgic memories of what adlib soundblasters used to sound like playing DOS games back in the day.

I also liked the message of the film, that nothing can get between true love whether that is for a spouse, child, partner or dearly beloved pet. With its unique A/V approach this really stood out.

My main criticism of the film would also be rooted to its strength in terms of it being such an on point video game presentation. Were we as an audience allowed to be fully drawn into the storytelling? Or did the digitization to sprites potentially take away some of the depth of the human element of cinema? For me on first watch I think I fell into the latter category, but I sat up and paid attention on my repeat watch today and really loved the uniqueness of the film. The story is still a bit flat, for mine, but I love films that stand out in this comp, which this did.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Curse of That Damn Cat

An anthropomorphic black cat follows home Nicky Brick, leading to some pretty severe consequences. Well written dialogue and good awareness of the genre, with characters stressing just how unlucky it is for an animal such as this to cross your path and going to levels such as claiming they caused the economic crisis. A friendship develops and our Nicky seems fairly laissez-faire about the whole thing, but the negative things that happen to him do snowball and then we get a nifty little resolution; the actress who played Bloody Mary in particular impressive for the few seconds they were on screen. The whole thing was a little scatterbrain but it also made me long to ride those Croc carts/bicycles along the waterfront next time we have a sunny Sunday and I'm sober enough to get out of bed before 12.

The Curse of the Satanists

Dungeons and Dragons loving lead meets...a satanist convention?? Yes most definitely wrong place, wrong time to bump into this coven in the Newlands College boiler room. But not the wrong time for a hip hop musical! Solid beats, decent flows and one hell of a dolly zoom were highlights in this funky effort. Outside of the music however there were a couple of audio issues I noticed, and the diction on the songs could have been slightly clearer at times however I'm letting those slide when I look at my notes and remember the huge laughs I got out of your "Get rekt n00b" joke. Dark dark payoff and gonzo camerawork too.

Sketch

A young man takes a canvas to a hillside road and starts drawing. However, not just any drawing, but one which apparently has the power to alter reality, or is it that the drawing creates reality? Either way, very cool concept and had some of the best uses of the elements so far (Especially the prop) The artistic shots (bringing from soft focus into focus quite a bit throughout the film) were a bit too artsy for artsy-sake in my book, but the film had a deliberate tone so I can appreciate why they were done that way. The acting was good and the music score fit perfectly.

Cutting Shapes

A girl lacks both friends and food in her fridge although I guess salsa, v and microwave food would have been the stable diet for a lot of teams on the 48 Hours weekend. They do not however lack for imagination with photoshopped images of them at landmarks dominating their facebook photos, and also acting as a plot device to get into the fantasy aspect of the genre. Had a bit of a low budget cardboard cutout Heavenly Creatures vibe. Didn't overstay its welcome as was very short. Could have used a bit more of a narrative, however.

Fetus 5000

What a location! Reminded me of the nuclear factory at the beginning of trash Italian zombie classic Hell of the Living Dead. We followed a tour around the facilities where they make the latest craze, the 'Fetus 500'. The key elements of the product being highlighted with some scripting/comedic timing that was outstanding in particular our tour guide. Where do you get the finest specimens for injecting pregnant women? Watch the film and find out :) Of course what's a tour without a demonstration, right? Luckily there are specimens close at hand who are ready to give birth with the help of the F5K. 200 litres of injected fluid and a flying demonic spawn baby follow with a couple of jaw dropping moments. Again, do have to reiterate that it was a good idea for the pregnant Wellington judge not to come to the heat... The battle between the demonic spawn and the scientists/progression of the footage as the situation disintegrated was excellently done I thought. Given what it was the production values were almost perfect, with just the one repeat shot dragging things down ever so slightly.

Mother's Day Out

Poor sound, poor video, poor acting, poor editing I can deal with. Tedious films however are a lot harder to look to get a positive perspective on. Especially if they decide to essentially shoot not in the English language but with some gobbidy gook infantile babbling sounds throughout, with said sounds emanating from the ashes urn of our mentally unstable lead. I think tripping out and imaging the other funeral goers were an angry mob was the highlight, and that happened about 10 seconds into the film. I honestly really don't mean to sound to harsh but a plot would be appreciated if I have to watch another of your films ever again - the visual gags almost had a point but no exposition as to why meant I was confused as fuck.

Straight Outta Wellington

So many fish puns and a great comedic use of a puddle - I hope the guy who took the fall got some just reward! Basically an out of town tech-savvy cousin came and struggled to fit in with his athletic relations. Some tightening of the story and use of more dynamic camera angles (almost everything was wide to super wide) would have been of immense benefit however the tennis court ball barrage was gold. Also I saw in the credits a mention that the version of the Happy Days theme song you used was royalty/commercial free and I think you've missed the mark there.

Scattered

Placeholder review.

Bufo

Yuss more puppets. And I'll tell you what, if you read the instructions given for Urban Legend on the 48hours website this was actually one that came closest to what the organisers were looking for in their description. The team took a well known urban legend (licking a frog will make you trip balls) only they told it almost entirely visually rather than relying on a Captain Exposition or 2 to establish their legend like most teams. Having tripped out our lead puppet/actor enjoys some scattered flashing leaves in his vision, is treated to some saxophone in the forest and finally gets transported to the human world. Ok so the setup was fantastic based on the genre requirements and the rest of the film was a little thin plotwise but it was still enjoyable.

KUNG-FOODOO

Hyper-kinetic warriors must deal with the repercussions of a new companion making their 2 a 3, who grows very attached after their life is saved in the woods. I did not want to peel my eyes away from the screen for a second as the film moved with the pace of a bullet train. Like a comic book come to life, we were greeted with bold colours and daring camera work. I was reminded of many films; Shogun Assassin, Princess Bride and the 36th Chamber of Shaolin immediately coming to mind but this was an original beast all of its own with that incomparable Moffilaide touch. With some fantastic special effects the quest to return to the warrior's sensei many miles away may just be the best film these boys have made. Fantastic.

Ex Libris

Good original score about a sleep deprived man starting to see things without having got any decent REM cycles recently. I thought this was building ominously and actually wanted more, because ending where you did meant you got one good laugh/jolt and could have had a lot more.

"Dead Beat"

Hard-boiled gruff dialogue, pulpy violence and strong visual imagery evoking SIN CITY fairly strongly were on show here as a beat cop with a license to kill and crack-addicted mummy issues looked to clean up the streets with his fists and gun.

This was a wild ride that included several dark moments ranging from decapitation to wrongful executions. Lead actor was exceptional and the green screen was really well done for 90%, with just a couple of minor blips here and there. I particularly liked how driven our man on the street was, and my goodness me that finishing song over the credits brought the wow factor.

Good sound. Crazy gonzo edit with plenty of memorable camera shots even if some didn't quite hit the mark. Better to be batting with 7 home runs and a few strikeouts than playing it safe. The team presented a dangerous world in their film and tone was consistent throughout which is the most important thing to remember here.

For me, having watched endless noir wannabes in this comp that simply follow genre staples, this gets huge marks for being ahead of the pack, kicking ass and taking no names. Tone uneven? Sure, but give me something slightly flawed and original any day of the week.

Could it make the Wellington final? Maaaybe. Depends whether the judges think it ripped off Rodriguez and Miller too much or not. I didn't think it did.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Cheers Dad

A couple of siblings reunite over their father's urn of ashes, and subsequent trip to a beautiful park to scatter them. An intimate and serious tale, with notes of laughter sprinkled throughout that hit close to home having lost loved ones myself in the past. I could feel the rawness of the terrific lead actor as he stood up for his father with some stirring speeches. Also very nice use of the required wind element. Having said that, sound was an issue. I once got absolutely ripped to shreds for saying a team had bad audio, and that was not the case here but this was definitely a case of where the film could be in an oh so much stronger position had the dialogue mix in particular been clearer, as I was genuinely struggling to make out what was being said at multiple times throughout the film.

The quest for redemption of young robert young

Bobby Young is determined to get forgiveness for his bullying that he dished out to his school mates when he was younger, and sees an opportunity at his high school reunion. I'm not sure if it was technical glitches or some attempt at subliminal pictures being flashed every few seconds, but either way it made the film a real eyesore. I apologise very strongly to the team if my memory was incorrect, it seemed that the person who tried to steal the voting ballots was from this team. So I take back the accusation and increase the film's rating to it's rightful score.

Trolley King

The musical talent on display here was sick, with thumping bass and impressive flowing raps outlining that our protagonist is more than a trolley boy, he sees his wheeled shopping carts as his crew.

Now when a hardline boss gives him 29 minutes to return a wallet to its rightful owner, we get a classic race against the clock scenario and the opportunity for more fantastic music, with the next jam presented in cinemascope. Given a photo of a beautiful woman is also inside and his colleague is at risk of losing his job too, the urgency is profound.

The resolution was suprising but to be honest a refreshing dismantling of thirsty men and a mic drop moment for sure.

Camerawork was absolutely sensational at times and performances assured so it was absolutely a crying shame that you were DQ. Just for me I also don't personally think our protagonist really fit the unlikely or anti or reluctant hero? But this was one cool short.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Meat Your Match

After being too picky for Tinder, a woman is registered by her friend for the upcoming local speed dating event to get her back on the dating horse, with an uber on its way in an hour!

I liked the quirky charm on show in this film, with the would be lovers available for our lead to choose from all having some gut-busting red flags from terrible ties, through truckers, to scarcely believable hot dog costumes. The film of course played like a classic lesson in not judging a book by its cover, with chemistry and rapport developed nicely in the short running time.

Pacing was really well done, building to a satisfying conclusion and I liked that you took a fairly standard idea and went outside the box. Sound seemed a little raw, but I'm always careful to criticise there in case it was my setup, and I thought that some of the editing was a tad jumpy in terms of what I noticed from a technical POV. Definitely a film that could have only been made in New Zealand, but a very enjoyable one.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

The Running Conspiracy

I'll copy Dan Slevin and mention the Tarantino-esque plot structure. Very young team but showed up a few of their adult peers with unmatched energy on screen. After refusing to throw a race, Nicky is up against it from a mob boss who has a sniper in his arsenal to look to ensure he collects the betting money. Guns, ninjas and ridiculous fighting throughout. Was that a flashback within a flashback that I saw? Because that is my favourite nonsensical plot device of all time. The times that the characters did open their mouths for dialogue just about always hit eye opening levels of ineptness with regards to the human language but the film was alll the more better for it. The over the top violent results of injuries and gunshots were memorable as heck. I commend you for getting the audience to applaud you a couple of times before the credits rolled.

Fugue State

Challenging expose of a doomsday worker and his introspective analysis of the afterlife. The script crammed a lot into this one with jokes about superannuation, HR and collective agreements, with weird segue-ways thrown in at random moments. Production design also went all out here with well-produced pamphlets and a genuine attempt to show a fully fleshed out world. However most of the film was static sitting and talking in an office, there were several instances of framing missing the 50/50 line, sound peaking varied considerably and whilst the concepts were ambitious the storyline was unclear.

Mother's Day

[DQ] Interviewees give their take on a daycare centre teacher who was a bit too endearing to the children, making them more than jealous when the annual celebration of motherhood rolls around. At the start I saw this going in several ways so it was quite engaging, but on the other hands I’m really not a fan of talking heads in 48 Hours. The sinister levels built throughout, although the ending was quite abrupt.

Spoiled

With a 28 second opening shot of a breakfast bowl being filled up with Nutri-Grain followed by a flatmates looking on aghast at some unseen horror in slow motion, we are well over a minute into the film yet the tone has been set in stone that we will be looking at a domestic slice of life.

Is it fair for me to kick this review off with a rambling description of the opening 60 seconds? Possibly not, but my point is that you can't really afford to take an age in getting your film going in 48 Hours. The facial expressions may have been humorous but by setting it in a standard apartment with standard characters other than the 'bad' flatmate you will typically need to have some really engaging subject matter to stand above the pack.

But I still had my fingers crossed until the first dialogue for the film to set the tone of the plot was a sit around flat meeting where at times the characters talked over each other and just complained. With no backstory to any of these men, no defining physical attributes with plain coloured clothes and just sitting around, and by starting with negative rants it did anything but get me on their side.

However, this was a tricky genre so I was still on board to give this a chance if you developed a narrative where something or someone ideally redeemed themselves. Yet instead the 'bad boy' (he's got a leather jacket like a rebel without a cause) committed such heinous crimes as eating chocolate from the fridge and then putting it back, with nobody actually clarifying if he had stolen it or just chose to put it back in the fridge when he was done.

This of course necessitates a heart to heart talk. Is the brave dogooder flatmate who is going to talk some sense into him putting his hand on the troublemaker's thigh supposed to be funny? Some weird attempt at subversion? Because it's minor but you walked a fine line and it felt like you were trying to get a laugh from 2 men touching each other? I hope I'm wrong of course because there was literally nothing wrong there.

The ending also caused me issues. After being called out for his so called apalling behaviour, the bad boy looks inside himself simply does make the change to being tidy and wearing plain white t-shirts. Sorry guys but I'll take the interesting flawed character over the collective of nondescript normies any day of the week. Felt like watching conversion therapy to be honest.

The positives for me were your nicely framed camerawork and good use of natural lighting, for the most part, with the bedroom talk scene being not quite as well covered as the rest of the film.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 1/5
Overall: 1/5

Concatenated

A hothead cop determined to solve his latest assignment at all costs lets his wife know he will be home late, despite it only being the middle of the day. With a crime scene opening this threw a few red herrings at viewers before the target was spotted and we were given a stark reminder as to why guns are so abhorred in New Zealand.

Your actor playing the cop had a physical screen presence and presented a man in uniform who fit the ACAB mantra to a tee. If this was designed as both a gun safety warning and criticism of the boys in blue then you hit your marks there.

Now a couple of minor things from a technical POV that I did notice were firstly that were was some distracting wind on that soundtrack. I'd honestly recommend just taking the sound out in editing and dubbing in new sound if you have that happen in future. The next thing was that I felt the chase after the crook was particularly shakey camera work. Handheld cameras can work fantastically well for action (see: BOURNE series) but if there is too much movement it can be distracting, so setup staged shots could have been just as effective. Despite it being shakey though, the chase was well edited and tense.

In terms of the script, it was delivered well, but I just feel that it was a bit blunt and harsh. Even accounting for the cop having anger management issues it did seem sudden and harsh to bust out the gun immediately on the accused and start swearing threats.

Coming back to good things I liked though, I thought your full circle approach that brought us back to the beginning was well done and had some solid emotional impact for the tragedy.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Product Z

Thank you very much for giving sound reasoning as to why the footage was shot in 1080p. I'm guessing the team had recently watched 21 Jump Street? As took the element of making an extreme new drug as their plot point. Sadly for them the territory they are looking to move on already has established dealers. Guns aren't hard to come by in this country, at least... I was really hooked in by the energetic start, and then the drug testing I was still engaged with. The film kind of lost its way though when it became a formulaic turf war, although the very ending of the film was really well done and the bullet holes in the windscreen a very impressive effect. Also not sure why sound quality was perfect fine at the start but progressively got worse?

Final Notice

Murder cover up that appeared to justify self-defence and was really well shot with strong contrast and evening shots in particular popping off the screen. Chemistry between the two friends looking to cover up the murder was palpable and the fake blood was visceral and believable. Went over some dark concepts such as stalking and locking yourself away from the world. I would have loved rather than liked the film if the conclusion had not been foregone and perhaps tried something different such as subversion of expectations.

Balls-Eye

So instead of the end of existence of life on Earth as we know it, 'The World' was actually a person; the reigning regional darts champion to be precise. If it had not ended like it did I probably would be giving it a negative review as that's taking subversion a little too far in my book...kinda like the year a team made their M Night Shymalan Big Twist film be all about M Night films... I'm not going to, though, this had a nice fly on the wall feel to it with some entertaining crude humour. The main area I'd recommend working on would be sound as it was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of being able to clearly hear dialogue or not.

How Time Flies

Age inappropriate casting = the best sort of casting! This film felt like it was more of a crime investigation than anything, although worked around an upcoming reunion. Focused on someone obsessed on catching up with the person they have been tracking for 3 years. I liked your earnest approach to the film, but finishing with "never leave me DAD" when he was clearly younger than the person saying it was just one example of why I lost suspension of disbelief.

How Time Flies

Age inappropriate casting = the best sort of casting! This film felt like it was more of a crime investigation than anything, although worked around an upcoming reunion. Focused on someone obsessed on catching up with the person they have been tracking for 3 years. I liked your earnest approach to the film, but finishing with "never leave me DAD" when he was clearly younger than the person saying it was just one example of why I lost suspension of disbelief.

Dead Comfy

Oh man, I really hope this team has seen DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS, because as a fan of that 70s shocker I absolutely loved this entry. A couple of friends find a free couch and take it home to their flat. However anyone that goes near the piece of furniture kind of runs into trouble. The script was very good, and the film felt fresh.

Loyal

Technically superb with a tremendous sense of dramatic development this nailed the buddy film genre but also subverted it In such a way that I could see it being a serious contender. Two best friends are shown to go through their daily routine in a way that unmistakably only buddies do; all the tropes of young men you could relate to are there such as bacon, sports and driving fast all moved along with just the right sense of urgency to let the film breathe within its time frame but not overstay its welcome. The comedic timing was good, the performances very strong, script even better and score which appeared to be original also perfect for the mood.

Maybe the Last Time

12 June 2013 REVIEW EDITED AFTER SECOND VIEWING AT WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL (Fact I didn't 'get it' the first time I think points to the fact your film was unclear): A high school reunion hookup aftermath film with a Tangerine-dream like score, mainly set in a parked car by the beach. A realistic portrayal of regret and hope, as two would be-lovers try quickly to make up for a lot of lost time. Coming in on the action after the drunken party and only letting the soundtrack try and convey emotion for any real conclusion felt flawed in my book. Reflecting now the film had a welcome change of pace right into the action, but I almost feel like Act 3 was missing, but then I'm assuming that you were going for a fly on the wall theatrical-type piece and letting the audience make their own conclusions. I think I "got it" this second time, but being held together by a soundtrack is always a dangerous thread to be hanging on. 16 June edit - drunk emotional irrelevant sections of the review removed.

Accidental Candyman

Currently not DQ, but from what I understand this one is on right on the line given that 48 Hours is actually not generally ok for fair use parodies, given that it is a commercial competition (and that is despite what the law says; there has been quite a hard line on this sort of stuff since a fantastic short in Auckland called 'Discount Taxi Driver' was DQ a few years back). Trapped in the Closet parodied with subtitled singing about a guy who has just got out of jail [currently in a halfway house] trying to stay clean, who is asked to do one last drug pick up job for his best friend. Beautifully shot, and well sung, I expect it to be kept out of the finals because it goes a bit too far with the 'recreation'. The team apparently recreated the music themselves, but from someone who has watched R. Kelly's shorts an awful lot, this was way too close in my view. Ballsy to do a musical when it wasn't your genre, I would have recommended going by what the 48 Hours page said rather than consulting any legal experts.

Jack & Joni

Placeholder review.

Infinite Origin

Honouring the golden age of animation, in particular the genius of Tex Avery, Truba served up a startling cartoon with Bill Plympton-like comedy but enough grotesque imagery that it would have fit perfectly into the Spike and Mike Twisted Festival of animation from yesteryear.

When a couple of super viking warriors crash land in the middle of a metropolitan park following an epic battle, their arrow-riddled corpses release their powers to the unsuspecting and reluctant denizens of the city. But in a nod to BRIGHTBURN, these powers being age old and infinite mean that the battle and drive to kill (or battle at least) continues to any inhabitant young or old.

Really strong sound design, wonderful use of colour, narration and voice work spot on, super impressively drawn and layered backgrounds, outstanding music, and particularly impressive was the camera movement given this was 2D animation. Trust me, this is no easy feat to pull off.

I liked the gags, and felt that every turn the film took was exciting. This was a great example of how to trim the fat with your edit and deliver a tight, polished 48 Hours film. I liked the ending also, but I personally would have not had the last narrative question asking whether the struggle will continue. Absolutely loved it overall, though.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Consequences

Tied to a chair in a graffited bunker a man is interrogated as to why he might think he is here, and recalls the recent mistakes he has made in his life that range from simple and honest to very very dark.

The seemingly happy go lucky humour and eyebrow raising comments about women certainly did come across as objectifying, but the film was clever in self-addressing and utilising setups for a full story arc.

It felt just a tad like the team eyed up the Race Against Time genre that others got and heavily mixed it into their film as they pressed the bound protagonist to confess or face the consequences.

Neat plot development as mentioned, although clearly farcical. I appreciated the varied locations, though the sound of the film in the bunker did seem to fluctuate in quality quite markedly. Also whilst some lovely cinematic angles were used, at times the lighting got a little bit away from the film.

Really cool message, 100% true that women should not be objectified in any way, shape or form. I do wonder though if it really got the impact that it could have by being played for laughs?

Story: 3/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Brains?

Definite contender right here, folks. I've heard a few are popping up around the country and its not different in Wellington either with a number of films told from the zombies' perspective for once. However until you've seen this one I find it hard to explain just how original it was. Just really damn good scriptwriting I guess, stomach-churning gore and make up effects, and a strong knowledge of the undead. From the first 'Brains!' groan of the film the film makers immediately had you in the grasp of their hand. So much so that by the time it ended I had completely bought into the character dynamics of four supposedly not living creatures and found it quite touching. FORM A PACK. Well done, guys :D Edit: On second viewing I'm bumping this up to a 5/5. Holds up amazingly well and even better with a massive crowd.

Order For Help

Comically genius film where a casual pizza delivery driver encounters a strangely immobilized customer and hilarity ensues. The tone was fantastic and the editing was the best I have seen so far in the Auckland heats, no small feat, with each and every shot held for the perfect amount of frames to deadpan deliver the pizza humour.

Both actors gave absolutely outstanding performances. Our driver presented the happy go lucky casually employed weekend worker incredibly well with an infectious smile and gutbusting focus on his job. Your bedridden actor was equally as impressive, doing an amazing job at selling agony, fear and hope through facial expressions alone.

The aesthetic was sublime, with the buildup to the customer reveal intriguing as the dark night and fog paid homage to TAXI DRIVER before a 42nd street version of MISERY took over.

Script of course was the highlight with joke after joke giving me belly laughs. Impressive considering it was played straight and it was the delivery through nuance and performances that made the laughs ensue.

I liked the ending. I felt that the team were going for a slice of life and that part of the excitement was leaving us with open ended questions. Whilst it was incredibly strange in feeling at times, I feel like a large part of this was by how it made us feel through sound and music choices, and one final missed opportunity to cry out just felt right.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/

Scot

A woman trapped in a lonely marriage turns to her Siri-like device 'Scot' for advice and companionship, as she has forgotten what it feels like to be loved with her husband often leaving her with the kids for work trips. It feels like she has put her life on hold.

This was an intimate film, shot with a deliberate academy ratio to tightly focus our attention, that covered some fairly heavy ground. I've been through a divorce myself and finding a balance or fairness to a relationship and family can be incredibly hard to achieve.

What I liked about this film was its introspective nature, and a message of communication being key to getting through life; listening to others and not just our own internal monologue. The lead actress gave a rousing performance selling a range of emotions across the arc of the story.

Where I felt the film felt a little bit flat was first of all relying overly heavily on many of the concepts explored in Spike Jonze's HER, and secondly whilst a lovely message the ending felt a tad rushed. Whilst I was satisfied with the growth our lead actress made, I felt that everything was just wrapped up a bit too quickly. Did Scot give sage advice? Yes, but in a way it felt like the lead went from trapped to lovey-dovey and ready to rekindle her romance in an instant.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Judy

For me, the idea of a buddy film being sold where one of the parties involved happens to be inanimate is a very hard sell, but Snack to the Future came very close to pulling off a masterpiece. If anyone could pull off a blow up sex doll causing a rift in a seemingly happy relationship, it was going to be them.

What I particularly enjoyed was how the team elevated the idea of the domestic, suburban mundane nature of life and turned it on its head. Where an anniversary should be an occassion to be celebrated, coming in at just the wrong moment gets some deep rooted issues to come up.

I really think the team were onto something here, in that whilst our lady pumped full of air and designed for private use is ridiculous as a story driver, it seemed they were exploring the concept that everyone should be allowed their kinks and as long as you communicate then that is the key for a happy marriage, which is a really healthy refreshing approach to see! But I felt that was kind of surface level, and instead we got introspection and realisation that self gratification was what was missing for our leading lady, leading to a classic case of shoe being on the other foot and a complete rift in the dynamic.

Snack to the Future again showed a really steady hand behind the camera here, allowing the film to breath both figuratively and literally, as our curiousity immediately was piqued due to breathing sounds whilst lounge music played before they went for the strange grandular doll reveal.

Technically, it's a really strong film, with really strong performanes and an engaging plot. But I personally think that whilst it was so close to nailing the buddy genre it just missed the mark, for me, too much in my book. To me the key for genre subversion is a question of would I think of the genre as the way to describe the film? And honestly, no I wouldn't. But I get that a lot of judges saw it differently.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 4.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

An Apple a Day

Set around the idea that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, although we soon discover that the apples may in fact not be quite so simple as the urban legend suggests. It ended abruptly so I am not sure if anything was missed. I noted good enthusiasm from this young team but I would highly recommend getting some editing and camera practice; the majority of the film was made up of static mid to long range shots which could have benefited from either camera movement or cutting.

Cutting Shapes

A girl lacks both friends and food in her fridge although I guess salsa, v and microwave food would have been the stable diet for a lot of teams on the 48 Hours weekend. They do not however lack for imagination with photoshopped images of them at landmarks dominating their facebook photos, and also acting as a plot device to get into the fantasy aspect of the genre. Had a bit of a low budget cardboard cutout Heavenly Creatures vibe. Didn't overstay its welcome as was very short. Could have used a bit more of a narrative, however.

It's Always Night In Space

Superbly acted, the film nailed the concept of a urban legend where it is possible to give a slightly different tale of events based on whatever hearsay the storyteller has heard. Set in a lecture theatre, a list of possible discoveries, motives and ways Nicky Brick was killed at an observatory in 1971 are well examined. Some say he saw a giant meteor, others that there was a conspiracy to kill him and yet a different take is that it was suicide. Our lecturer of course provides the calming hand to our students' wild speculations. Some sweet visual touches and completely engaging.

The Lifesaver

You have got to love a team who loves Edgar Wright smash cuts as much as I sometimes do, with a fragile package picked up by a delivery driver from a scientist in full hazmat suit, who then lets somebody know that he will be at the required location in 30 minutes. Of course as the clock keeps ticking the ultimate evil of Auckland traffic delays rears its ugly head. But what would a 48 Hours film be without desperation to deliver the package in a race against time whilst throwing in a super mullet bloke for comedic relief.

I really enjoyed the take the piss attitude of this team, and whilst I am no fan of WILD HOGS I do like how it was used for humour. The ramblings of the westie were highly entertaining, and I liked the team using such dramatic music throughout contrasting with such a lo-fi slice of life plot.

The performances were good and overall an entertaining film, I think perhaps to elevate it more a sense of understanding as to why the delivery within half an hour was so important would have been good to see. Only understanding this when we discover what the package is did work as a comedic payoff, I appreciate, but consequences of missing the deadline were the one main thing missing for me.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Spill It

David Caruso eat your heart out! The POV peeing was one of the best uses of the required shot I have seen so far. This CSI parody followed a murder investigation where the only real evidence they had was shoe registration of the apparent killer. Full of one-liners, taking the piss out of cop show computer systems (zoooooming in and maintaining clarity) this was really enjoyable. The guy with the Murray/Flight of the Conchords voice was excellent, but some of the other acting was a bit wooden and I did notice a couple of audio errors. Yeahhh!!!

Black Death

Black Death has been killing people throughout the City. Bobby Young tries to train 3 young women as superheroes, but that gets curtailed when she gets kidnapped. It's up to the girls to try and rescue her, by making their way to the villain's lair. Cool costumes and a polished film, but the story was well worn and I was a bit puzzled by the fake accents.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

A couple on a park bench discuss how they hate USA, only for a figure in red white and blue coming along to give them a singing lesson as to why they should really love the land of the free. The music was seriously amazing, some of the best I've ever come across in 48hours, and I've still got 'When you sing, you all sound American' stuck in my head. But that's really it, it was amazing wordplay and singing without a plot. Big crowd pleaser, though.

The Remarkable Day of Doom

[DQ] Not sure of the name of the film here but the adventures of the murderous Hattie Hatpin from Toyhead Collective continued again this year. Animation was a lot better than previously and I adored the fact that you basically went big or went home (very sorry to hear you were late), with world domination on the agenda starting with a DESPCIBLE ME style fraternity of evil. Given it's the last day on earth it would be time for a Monty Pythong inspired shark submarine, wouldn't it? I would have given this one higher marks if the last day on earth aspect had been more to the forefront of the film, but really do admire the improvements made by the team, and while murderous the satyrical destruction of the oppressive male patriarchy made me grin.

Favour From The Neighbour

Placeholder review.

General Incivility

Strong electrotherapy to cure insomnia. Sound a bit dangerous, doesn't it? And it proves that way when we are advised that if Vic Meyer doesn't wake up in 14 hours, she will sleep/walk forever. There were a few good lines, and ideas regarding conscious/subconscious behaviour, but I felt that some more character motivation was needed for the actions that we saw on screen.

Hear No Evil

Evil Dead-font intro for the film title made me smile, as a group of three try to survive in an apocalyptic world where everyone is getting killed or going crazy that comes in contact with a signal (ear suicide with the wire was fantastic!) I also liked the hole up in an attic that seemed to be very much like the original attic in Dawn of the Dead; like Romero has always said, the focus should always be on the people when the world falls apart. This team covered that well, even throwing in a bit of romantic drama. I dug the vibe, also seemed to have nods to The Signal and The Crazies. Ended a bit abruptly but oh well.

Rhythm

I really really love the way that you presented the bedroom scene here; honest, raw, believable and most of all showing that the characters in the three-way genuinely cared about consent and what the other people in the bedroom liked. If more people could present sex like this society would be better as a whole. The converging storyline with the drumming lesson down below gave the film its heartbeat and whilst low key was endearing. I do think the dramatic arcs could potentially have come together but on the other hand this was a 5 minute slice and that plot would be better suited for a longer film so was not needed. Great performances and definitely a film that stays with you.

A Matter of Time

With our interviewed lead announcing he was never the smart kid, although quantum physics were his thing, I had the worrying feeling that we would be going down the much dreaded mockumentary road, but Apple Fork quickly laid my fears to bed with a glorious garden shed time traveling piss-take that mocked everything from Netflix to The Butterfly Effect.

Expectations were so quickly subverted with a wicked script, that I must say I am really looking forward to seeing it again. When the tinkering would be inventor documents his invisible umbrella and need for a replacement part in the time traveling device he is building, the foundation is laid where we think we might see a Marty McFly type adventure, but instead the space time continuum gets wrecked and multiple ideologies bring comic genius to proceedings.

This was all about the performance of the lead for selling the film. You were engaging and likeable and showed a fantastic range. I thought that your understanding of body positioning on screen combined with the differentiating costumes gave the film the contrast and energy it needed to really stand out from the crowd. Well done. Jokes were almost all hits, so props for the script in that regard too.

One of the best endings in this year's comp so far, I absolutely burst out laughing at how you wrapped things up here with just one more satisfying subversive story beat.

Technically really solid. I noted one absolutely glorious overhead shot and everything was really clean. Obviously my ratings are arbitrary, so it's more me rating based on where I think you stand compared to the other super storng films I've seen so far, and in many ways the fact that I didn't notice any issues from a technical POV means my grade might be slightly low. Awesome work.

Story: 4.5/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

120 hours in OSdom

This is quickly becoming my favourite genre of 2013 as yet another team knocked it out of the park. After an initial Star Trek-ish setup of having been beamed down for shelter during an asteroid storm, our team of explorers soon realise the dangers of having things run on solar power when the area has 5x the normal levels of exposure. Eyeball violence, tinfoil costumes and drill sergeants were the order of the day here in a film that had me in stitches laughing.

Blown

Charming tale of a widower who had the perfect wife on a quest to find/buy love one more time. A Russian mail-order bride from a less than reputable company (found through searching on 'googol') leads to a LARS AND THE REAL GIRL inspired payoff. Made great use of setup and payoff through several repeated comedy vignettes. Also pleasingly made use of the small gaps in the weather on the weekend of rain that Wellington had to showcase the waterfront. I felt that the lack of dialogue worked for what the team was trying to achieve but that it was slightly let down by a few flat shots.

Here Comes Charlie

The midnight loser of ‘Sketchosaurus’ will have to leave the flat to make way for the beloved Charlie. This framework sets the way for a number of great verbal and visual jokes between the obnoxious flatmate, the generally ignored flatmate, the art painting flatmate and the flatmate whose mother recently passed away. I thought it could have had some more variety as flats are a pretty boring backdrop all up, but it was very entertaining.

Daddy's Little Angel

Very entertaining film. Genuinely surprised it was up for best editing at the nationals though as felt that was the area of the film that held it back from potentially challenging for the top gong. Just my 2c.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

A couple on a park bench discuss how they hate USA, only for a figure in red white and blue coming along to give them a singing lesson as to why they should really love the land of the free. The music was seriously amazing, some of the best I've ever come across in 48hours, and I've still got 'When you sing, you all sound American' stuck in my head. But that's really it, it was amazing wordplay and singing without a plot. Big crowd pleaser, though.

Game On

Placeholder review.

A Delicate Point

Black and white minimalist animation that showed a wonderful friendship develop between a recently dumped girl and her new best friend unicorn. With charming picnics and shared sensibilities for pottery, the crisp clean animation was handled with aplomb. I particularly loved the subtitle touches such as the selection of equestrian netflix shows for our horned friend. Of course a bond over a breakup is one that is to be protected and so the defence of the friendship was a particular highlight. Makes me wish I had gone as clean and simple with my own animated film!

Time Beyond Time

I have a feeling that this team were trying to combine obsessive relationship into the genre that they were given. Given how difficult the competition is, I would really recommend trying to nail the genre that you get given in future. From what I could make out our Vic here followed his love but it this was somehow a metaphor for love being a race against the clock to get right? A nice oneric feeling but needed more work on the structure.

Poesy

Ok, so Wikipedia justifies that poetry is music. However the website did indicate with regards to this genre that it did want singing, but I can appreciate what you did. If I wasn't clear just now, the team went with poetry and a disclaimer at the start of the film, as well as choreographing the rhythm in the corner throughout the film for a picture in picture effect. Vic Meyer expressed her thoughts and feelings in some lovely poetry throughout the film, which was just her and nobody else. Some beautiful shots, but the same ideas that were established in the first couple of minutes (insomnia, loneliness) kept getting emphasised. The "count to 24" scene brought a lot of unintentional laughter from the audience. Props for being original, but yeah the organisers did say they wanted singing...

Illusion of Refuge

A woman and her brother hope to seek refuge at a shelter, but they are told they will only be able to stay if they can find what the military camp attendant is looking for. On their quest for this they encounter several characters who sing songs about their own situation. A monkey with a guitar, a dirty long haired man and a labourer who is out of work lament their woes which have resulted in them seeking out the shelter. Songs were painful and only the military officer held the film together with any sort of acting skill; I would have suggested having a few more goes at nailing your one shot and probably doing the music off-camera. A real struggle because of the lack of polish.

The Wishboners

A family of genies and their company were documented dealing with a lack of wishes for people in the world in 2018. This played mostly as a one joke film with the team throwing every possible boner reference into the mix that they could think of. A lot hit the mark although when material became exhausted the film did hit a bit of a lull. The chicken jokes and development of genuine sympathy for the family did give the film a second act although the editing during the first half of the film was of a lot higher standard as the ending felt rushed and predictable. Having said that the first half of the film did have a few too many talking heads moments for my liking. EDIT updated star rating to correct (for me) 3 stars. Sorry had the wrong (and probably appeared to be mean) 2 stars in here until I corrected myself.

Insomnity

Insomnity is a combination of insomnia and insanity, we are told. The rest of the film was a bunch of shots of creepy guys in masks and close ups on the boozy lead's crazy eyes. Well, other than the buzz saw carving with screams. Needed more plot development.

Flat Bread

Best actor nominee? Whoever he was, he was terrific! And your use of the line was also fantastic. Pretty low budget and gonzo and I'm really not a fan of films set in apartments...but you pulled this off. A bread pun spectacular as a mother sent her son to infiltrate a flat on a secret mission to uncover a mystery. His weirdness provided a spectacle where my eyes were glued to the screen - txting mummy versus down to earth herbal ciggies anyone?

People Get Lucky and Bad Things Happen

This was actually a better example of a road movie than just about every film that thinks it needs a car to qualify. A failed business major recruits some other buskers (musician/statue mime/magician) with plans to make it big in the world. However when they try to put their act together, things go awry. This certainly had some of the best framed shots I've seen this year, and it was also well acted, however there were some instances of style over substance eg, close-ups on cigarette smoking unrelated to the plot.

Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge

Well well well this was a surprise. Two films that only really make full sense when played back to back (this goes with Team Cupcake Squidwig which followed immediately afterwards at the Heats). The only time I can ever remember something similar was when a team basically paid the entry fee to put on some art wank they shot over the 14 minutes that two slots would allow them. This team/s actually had the best intentions at heart and so the daring move gets a thumbs up from me. Both films have basically the same start with Kevin and the girl he's interested in + her daughter saying goodbye as the girls head off on a date whilst he heads off to the TAB. The date with Roger for the girls starts promisingly enough with talk of sports and then the decision is made to have a go at rollerskating given that he was apparently a master skater back in the day. Of course this is a bit of a flat out lie and allows our main female actor to reflect on things with the other guy. Whilst this goes on of course Kevin has a whale of a time inadvertently entering himself in Big Ben's Big Bean Challenge by breaking the record for eating a vast amount of beans in a short space of time. Having lost the girl once he holds onto the idea tight that the competition might actually show her that he can amount to something. Of course the reigning champion is not going to give up their title without a fight, especially when they could have passed for the spitting image of Helen Mirren, only with tattoos. The inspirational side of things comes to the fore when we're shown that playing a good clean game will always grant you respect whether you win or lose. Also the same ending. The films themselves were decently acted but the production values were mid-range; having their moments in terms of good crowd scenes and a well framed camera most of the time. I guess that's understandable given the rush to effectively make two films.

Extract of Feminine Essence

Placeholder review.

Rollplay

As a fellow DnD player in a past lifetime I think I get what you were trying to achieve which was the fact that the game is about being taken off to other worlds whilst being located within one room. However the playing party each making different choices about what to do such as an intelligence test or search for traps missed the mark a bit by failing to produce any clear narrative arc. The montage at the end showed promise that it might lead onto something more engaging but then the film ended without having really got started. Whilst this was a difficult genre it was also supposed to be mapped up with any one of the other 14 genres and had you done so I think you would have had a better starting point.

Long Haul

Captain's log, star date 20...whatever is a nice way to set the scene for the shape of things to come, a touching intercom buddy film where dwindling oxygen levels were kept private at one end.

Really strong performance by your lead actor in the space ship, though the dad on the other hand did a particularly good job conveying character through just his voice also. I liked the human element at play here with the isolation of space feeling particularly relevant in 2021.

Whilst it might seem obvious to point out, the cardboard and duct tape set design took me out of my suspension of disbelief at times in the film. It was a bit of a shame, because your script was really strong and in the second half of the film you were utilising some fantastic camera angles that disguised the budget nature of the set design, allowing me as a viewer to truly become engaged with the bigger questions you were having as ponder.

Story: 3.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

talk.

Covering an Average Superhoeroes support group, Boogie did their best with 'Talk' to showcase as many uninspiring heroes as possible within their allocated 5 minute runtime. This included a teleporting hero, one with the power to turn things invsible and yet another who was granted a gift following the bedding of a superwoman.

I have no issue with crude humour and it was the order of the day here, with sexual innuendo, and jokes about anal attacks being the origin story at times. What was a bit jarring however was the sound, which peaked up and down for me quite a bit. I'm always loathe to criticise sound though based on my home theatre playback as it may just be me, but there was a point in the film where perhaps 5 characters were arguing at once that I would struggle to describe as anything other than a cacophony. It was probably done with humour in mind, but it did make me grit my teeth sorry.

I also get that locations are hard to find in 48 Hours, but the group meeting hall did come across as plain, especially when matched with the theoretical dynamism of the superheroes. But that was probably the point given they were 'Average' Superheroes. However, going with a support group for the most part also meant that most of the film was just sitting around and talking.

Apologies for the negativity. As I mentioned earlier I liked your crude humour and there was some decent scriptwork in here not to mention a couple of minor but effective pieces of vfx work.

I personally thought the concluding gag was a miss, but appreciate it will be a funny finale for others depending on your sense of humour.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2/5

Vic Dreams

I know that it is obviously your team's style, but shooting 9:16 just seems bizarre on the cinema screen. The reason that Hollywood has historical shown more image wider than taller is that most audiences don't care about the lower half of actors, but I don't need to lecture, I'm sure you had your reasons for doing it this way. It was a fun little film about an English Language teacher being absolutely adored by his class. All lessons try and steer clear of the subject of sleep for obvious reasons, but once his condition is found out it allows the obsession levels to ramp up...Just writing that now I realised that you kind of got the character trait wrong as he was constantly sleeping, wasn't he? Given my own film had a dream with a girl with an umbrella I'm willing to cut your some slack.

Once a Winker, Always a Winker

Having parted ways following a defeat in a 2009 Tiddlywinks championship game, this mockumentary followed the process of a team reunion to try and take down reigning champ Vic Meyer. I do not like Talking Heads in 48 Hours as it means people can just describe rather than show events. The other issue is that if you describe character traits then you should really actually back that up when said character turns up on screen. I felt this short would have improved without the talking heads as it would have allowed the characters to develop more naturally. The talking got to the point of being tedious.

Missing Demetri

Ok, I get what you do here by interpreting that monologue did not qualify as dialogue. However in future years if you are given a non-standard genre I would highly recommend reading the website, which gives you examples and often explains what the organisers are looking for/do not want you to do. Narration of non dialogue was clearly stated as not being acceptable. Ignoring that fact, a non sleeping Vic Meyer told us of how her relationships have developed over the years, and why a particular boy really piqued her interest. I liked the jokes that contrasted her idealised view of him versus what we saw ie, nice small = crooked teeth and date night = Xbox. More of this would have been good, but in a way that qualified under your genre.

Common Scents

After drinking Chernobyl juice from a Russian wizard, our happy go lucky lead is given the power to smell into the future, and whilst he tells interviewers that he could use it for greater good, it gets relied on for fart and burnt toast jokes here.

Personally I am not a fan of the mockumentary style in 48 Hours. In particular when people sit down for 'talking heads' interviews it creates a reliance on exposition of talking to the camera at the best of times, however here it was only used a tad, with more of a 'camera following the guy around' type approach, so the focus was actually on developing the plot by documenting the guy.

From a technical point of view this was solid, with steady camera work and editing, and particularly clean sound. For mine though, the film had a great start with the origin story of his powers, but was quite light weight in how it played out, with the aformentioned fart and toast jokes not hitting for me, and the concluding joke also feeling a bit throwaway.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2/5

Bleeding Love

Brad, 28, suffers from bleeding, a lot, and so a documentary crew follows him around to cover his unusual claret flows and how it affects his daily life.

I'll be upfront here, I'm not a fan of mockumentaries in 48 Hours for reasons I've outlined countless times, but this had a story and was funny plus didn't overly rely on talking heads/describing a comedic element and then reeancting, which is my main personal bugbear with mockos.

The team provided a consistent tone as poor old Brad just wanted to get a 9-5 and find love, and yet things such a detective work and tinder didn't exactly work well for him when the blood starts flowing from a meer papercut.

Good performance by the actor who played Brad, and whilst a bit of a predictable ending it wrapped things up nicely with the gushing kiss ticking the box for your genre very well. Technically a bit raw, but covered by selling the idea of it being a handheld shot documentary.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

Snuffed Out

Survivors wonder where their renegade friend Nicky Brick may be, with both pretty confident that he has risked the raving savages that rove the post-apocalyptic wasteland once again. Having a car involved in the piece seemed only out of place given that there seemed to have been early important dialogue about a lack of rations, and yet petrol can be used for the commodity of moving something on 4 wheels? Odd. Be that as it may this was a mainly sit around and talk end of the world one shot film. I would have personally tried to cover more sparsely populated areas but that’s just me. A lot of wind sound was very distracting, please watch out for it in future.

Pussy

The last couple of years the team has been pushing the boundaries, and this year drew the dreaded musical genre which had a much harder time being pigeonholed into their cinema verite/Harmony Korineish drug haze style. I must admit the harmonised opening song made me think that the team might at least give it a fairly decent go, but I was mistaken as it descended into sordid drug taking (I can understand others getting upset about the realistic class A use given there were kids in the audience and surprisingly no warning before the film played) and a surreal mess with scattered camerawork and no discernible plot. There was the potential I thought for this to be an original crazy take on sexual discussion, but I was unfortunately proven wrong.

Product Z

Thank you very much for giving sound reasoning as to why the footage was shot in 1080p. I'm guessing the team had recently watched 21 Jump Street? As took the element of making an extreme new drug as their plot point. Sadly for them the territory they are looking to move on already has established dealers. Guns aren't hard to come by in this country, at least... I was really hooked in by the energetic start, and then the drug testing I was still engaged with. The film kind of lost its way though when it became a formulaic turf war, although the very ending of the film was really well done and the bullet holes in the windscreen a very impressive effect. Also not sure why sound quality was perfect fine at the start but progressively got worse?

Post-Heist

A heist goes horribly wrong in more ways than one due to some really unfortunate circumstances. Funny what money can do to people, eh? Hoping for a smooth exit as it appears our crooks had run a long way to get to the getaway car, yet they get anything but when Nicky trips over...but does recover a black bag and then the paranoia ramps up when they realise a name may have been said a bit too loudly at the scene of the crime. Excellent camera work but the storyline was very predictable. Having said that the physical violence definitely got an audience response and the actors played off each other well. Not sure if you were going for laughs or shocks to be honest as the film treaded a fine line between the two.

It's Time

Now this was a really nice film. Contemplative but engaging as a young couple struggle to deal with the guy's obsession, one he has held on to when he should possibly just let go. Had a heartfelt message, both actors did a fine job and the soundtrack was ace.

Double Check

[Disqualified] This was well shot with an excellent intro on the waterfront as an old man hands a scarred hitman an important job to get back his girl. The film hums along building with a nicely composed soundtrack before our guy arrives at his destination. The development of the story was good and most of the technical solid (in fact, the establishing shots were better than solid, they were beautiful captured the sense of walking into a lion's den in 'ghetto' Wellington for a rescue perfectly) but I found the fight choreography to be a bit average for an action film. The payoff/reveal was interesting. It worked well though as it was one of those 'can't quite put my finger on it...aha' moments that had been building the whole time the apartment was being infiltrated. With Nicky being an actions speak louder than words kind of character it gave it good closure.

Unforgettable Date

A guy sinks many double browns before we are drawn into a time travel pen pal world between him in 2019 and the woman he is flirting with in 1985, as they exchange notes and personal items through an urn that traverses time and space. The dropback to the 80s was particularly well done with lycra, neon, and synth music whilst his casual "send nudes" approach unfortunately resonated with the modern world of dating and apps. Interplay between our 2 leads was strong, which was particularly impressive given they were never on screen together so the reactions and conveyance of emotion was all through the performers' own doing. I think the payoff was a little bit predictable myself but still a highly enjoyable film.

GOOD AS GOLD

You know those moments in this competition where your jaw literally drops because you have seen something amazing? Well, Good as Gold had me picking mine up from off the floor with a staggeringly beautiful film that pulsated straight out of the Cook Islands and into our lucky viewing eyes here in New Zealand.

Following a woman on the run, jump and swim through beautiful native landscapes, with a commanding screen presence that presented strength and determination without saying a word, this was a captivating film with a charming payoff.

GOOD sound say my notes. Consistency. Shot so well it could work as a tourism advert. Match cuts for days as the quest for a special coin took us on a deep dive from riverbeds through fauna with acrobatics along the way, culminating with a splash as the woman hungered for her prize.

From a technical level relative to this competition, to me this was perfect. Every frame was just so tight. The only reason I'm not giving top overall marks is that I'm not quite sure if the story had enough weight for most of the proceedings. I'm eager to see it again though, that's for sure, and watch out NZ because this will contend at the business end of the comp...

Story: 3.5/5
Technical 5/5
Elements: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

youralreadyinjail.co.nz

A great way to start the heats as per normal from these veterans, who were unfortunately disqualified this year (apparently for being too long). We were introduced to several gangsta-types who included Bobby Youngsta, No Name and The Wasp. When I say introduced I mean their name flashed on the screen. What followed was an order of chair whipping, car driving, in your face mindfuck, with a side order of fish angle wide shots.

The Second Coming of Draven

Throughout the ages, a second coming of Draven has been foretold, and those who worship him are extremely excited when their demonic summoning appears to work given the prophecy says that all unfaithful will be killed. But like a longcon game of communication whispered down the ages, the summoned being is not all that they expected.

The comic touches here were clever such as the cultists interrupting the announcement speech of their deity, and the medium powers being revealed. The anger and rage of the lead hooded figure was powerfully presented, providing contrast with the light humour to good effect.

What I found let the film down a little was it just being a little bit light in tone, and definitely felt like a bit of a plain location despite the nice costumes and well done invisibility.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Holdin' On

Another dude sitting on the toilet to start this one off, one of the more popular themes in this year's 48 hours. We were then treated to a looong tracking shot following him down Aro Street, lamenting not having TP through some fairly ordinary spoken rap (decent beat, though), running into a couple of acquaintances. Highlight was the operatic phone booth singer, which left me baffled as to why the team hadn't made more use of his stunning voice. The film looked fairly nice, but most of the music wasn't great.

Canned Laughter

Ohhhh man I enjoyed this black comedy until the final 30 seconds. Stab stab murder resolution really bummed me out. Sigh. The main reason I really dug it is that your camerawork was out of this world in places, with the wrestling down the hill one of the best action shots I have seen in 48Hours in many years. Whilst an interesting decision from an editing point of view, the canned laughter worked because you committed to it and I did notice a few laughs around the cinema. I would have liked a little bit more story from the two 'friends' as a trip through the park where one steals a bike, pushes the other over, fights them and then finishes it all was a bit dark given we didn't really establish the relationship between the 2 before the action commenced. But yeah, camera work was golden and spectacular cinematography which is why you're getting stars.

A Wine in Time

A cleaner with a demanding boss and strict set of rules to abide decides he wants to do what he wants, with earth-shattering time travelling results. The device of choice for travel through time and space was an interesting choice with good payoff, the film felt like a good eff you to all the bad bosses out there. Variety of locations was impressive and most of the camera work was tight although I noticed some issues with movement early in the film and the contrast seemed overblown at times. Going big for scale gets point for me and the ancient warrior actually provided a haunting few moments of suspense. A clearer plot is what would have pushed this film higher. Spew was GROSS.

The Gift

Placeholder review.

Monarch

After a parent-teacher interview goes awry, our protagonist teacher has murderous thoughts of how to deal with the bad dad who thinks his naughty son's behaviour is her responsibility. But of course that would be way too simplistic, and so when the rubbish bin full of tissues from her coughing metamorphs into something sinister, all hell breaks loose within the school. Most definitely this was slick, with the Joseph Bishara-inspired soundtrack the actual highlight in my book, and the team ticked a lot of the trope boxes for the genre, with nods to ALIEN and MOTHRA being the most obvious, but the script just left me a bit cold. I think the reason for this is that the dialogue interplay between the 2 leads was engaging at the interview, but after that opening 60 seconds it all just went a bit murderous. I really liked the practical effects I must add, I just personally didn't engage with the story after the teacher was made to feel like crap. Just my 2c.

Beast Mode

Really slick effort this one with nary a frame not looking great and crystal clear quality sound and music, this took a lot of beats from cult classic horror film THE BEAST WITHIN but played for laughs, and unfortunately (as I've been a huge fan of Alan Morrison's work in this comp over the years and see he wrote this) I didn't really buy it as as radio DJ went through a monster transformation all the while staying actively engaged with social media. I get that this was meant to play as a meta commentary on instagram/facebook etc but the payoff genuinely came too late in the piece for my liking. I also think that texts as an on-screen graphic have been a tad overdone in this comp especially when Chess Club did their drop the mic film in this area a couple of years ago. However I'm pretty inspired by what you guys pulled off from a technical pov. The camerawork in some of this was absolutely exquisite from the fish eye lenses examining the man's soul and body transformation through to the dramatic VAMP-like neon lighting. The makeup was freaking marvelous for a 48hours film too!

R.A.W.W.

It's a genuine pleasure when watching this competition that a film comes along with such visual power that you can't help but sit up and take notice, and that is exactly the way I felt watching R.A.W.W. which just oozed confidence and pulsated with life throughout its runtime.

Technically this was insane. I don't care that the team admitted to not handing in their fully mastered film, every beat had severe impact as though watching a sumptuous high octane ballet. Most impressive to me was how you wrangled a crowd of that size to replicate the local hall semi-pro passionate fans that drive grassroots sports in this country. Editing was out of this world and I'm picking the team to pick up that gong at the nationals.

The story for mine was impressive. It's bloody hard to tell something coherent without dialogue, and arguably this might be a film that needs rewatches to fully understand the nuances of switched places, betrayals and the like because it did come across as blink and you miss it at times. But I felt it was clearcut revenge in reverse in the wrestling ring, and without giving anything away perfectly matched the drama of the soap opera that is professional wrestling.

The reason I'm giving the elements a perfect score on my grading system is that this film, for me, was a mic drop moment in relation to the utilisation of the antihero. This is subject matter that lives and dies on heels, faces and turns and it felt like Great Lake Film Society hit the nail on the head here.

Comparisons in reviewing are generally lazy. It would be easy for me to bring up G.L.O.W., or TENET, but this was its own beast. A barrel of fun with clearly defined characters, which was all the more impressive given this was achieved by body language and costuming which is no small feat. The one slight blip for mine was the fake tattoo sleeves which just seemed every so slightly out of place, but fit with the fun colourful tone of the film.

The other thing that I would be scratching my head about a little bit is just how well the film fit the Race Against Time genre. For me, this worked because of rounds in the ring having a timer, stopping being pinned against the count etc, and so I felt that it subveresely ticked the box, but I just wonder if perhaps that could have been slightly more central to the plot? By no means a criticism, I love subversion, just saying that I thought about it is all. Overall though, amazing.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 5/5
Elements: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Resonance

Sensitive leisurely touching film about a young girl inheriting a very special family guitar. Special as it had been in the family for generations. The film played with a genuine delicate rhythm that felt personal and honest as a massive scope of examples of where the instrument had been used were portrayed on screen taking the audience on an emotional rollercoaster in a really good way. From sad cringe at aunties and uncles getting high and using it to strum a fun tune all the way through to a tangi. Full of arohanui I take my hat off to you.

The Ad

Starring the 48 Hours legend himself James Kupa! Great to see this man giving a fantastic performance as a stuttering former All Black struggling with his Fujiji-Plex Heat Pump lines much to the chagrin of his ad crew who have only paid for his services for an hour.

I found this thoroughly entertaining with a beautiful gradient to the pacing of proceedings, and a script that produced some genuinely quality comedy such as comments on Richie McNugget's height and the red mist trauma that his previous failures caused him.

My main issue with the film was the plain location of the house/apartment, BUT I actually think this worked because it was filling in as a film set and covered itself well in this regard.

Also nullifying this was the camerawork which I marked as "clean". Whoever was your DOP had a superb control of depth of field, and everything was razor sharp which is always a big plus to see.

Whilst I have commended James at the start of the review, I must say the entire crew were on fire with their roles with the director matching him with her fantastic screen presence and determination to get the job done. Clear cut and defined, they presented a stressed collective very well, meaning that the resolution was particularly satisfying as I felt it worked as a strong metaphor for working together as a team. Film within a Film. Sports. Invisible. Etc. Put it in the onion bag, this was a goodie.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Lost

Now here we go, genuine contender this one as our lead struggled to make his way to his party destination in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. Of course he also happens to be alone in his car with only an Alexa-type phone for company... Seriously awesome sound design in this film, barely an ounce of fat to it, sublime camerawork and a lead performance by Jordan Rivers that is going to take some beating to stop him taking out the top Wellington award. Hints of CHRISTINE, IN FEAR, 2001 and KNIGHT RIDER but absolutely it's own beast and all the better for it. I mean jeepers creepers this was a thriller and it actually gave me goosebumps at a certain key dramatic point! I've been impressed by Stock Standard's continuing maturity in this competition and this is their most sublime effort yet. Just shy of 7 stars but that may change after the Wellington final.

Eggs for Breakfast

A serial tinder playboy waxes lyrical about how nobody is really truly looking to make a connection these days, and yet he is so stuck in his mechanical bedding and breakfast routine that the women he hooks up with come across as bodies without personality. No disrespect intended here, because it appeared the women were absolutely onto him and immediately dismissive of his weird clingy game.

Little bit unclear whether this was supposed to be an attempt at critiquing the lack of romance through apps, or more of an ironic criticism of fuckbois, or both? If the eggs were supposed to be a metaphor at the end that was also unclear.

What I liked about the short was a confidence in the line delivery, and audio was clear, but the confusing storyline did let it down a bit. I also appreciate this was deliberately set in the intimate private setting of a house, but it did make a relatively plain setting albeit with particularly well done lighting.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Ripped Off

HOMEWARD BOUND through the lens of a stick family car sticker boy and his beloved pet cat who fall off the back of the station wagon. I really loved the animation here and how it mixed with real life through water splashes, sewers and moving leaves. Clean sound, charming wholesome feel to the whole thing. I was personally impressed I'm just not sure if the story had enough legs to progress further given how many other's footprints it was following (MILO AND OTIS also) but we'll see.

Vic TV

Some super strong sleeping pills pull Vic right into a television where he bounces around between channels with the same nemesis in each. Cooking/Infomercials/Religious/Kids TV were about it. Being whisked away to a parallel or alternate world is a great setup for a non dialogue film, but I would have stayed well away from somewhere that is arguably 50% driven by dialogue like TV. It got tedious.

Passing Lane

What would you do if you could plead your case for a second chance at life? This went deep and as a father hit my touchy feely nerves in a big way. Impeccably framed throughout as a taxi driver picked up a passenger and took them for the probably final ride of their life. Nobody needed any baggage where they were going. It seemed like the route this was headed in was obvious 60 seconds into the film, but believe you me there was clearly a skilled hand behind this to pull the strings like it did. Just little touches here and there like keeping things interesting with framing inside the car, and creating dramatic mood with cuts to a look in the rearviewmirror that doubled as a look back onto the passenger and yet at the same time exploring predetermined destiny, this is a sure fire thing for the finals and a very good chance for nationals.

Shadowplay

Was it just me or did anyone else get a bit of a Jade meets Oldboy vibe to this one? I liked their style at least, if that comment was not entirely obvious it was a compliment. A tale of deception with some erotic moments was carried out, with a love triangle involving a couple, his older ex and her much younger daughter (the younger daughter being his current partner). It was well acted and had some juicy dialogue. Good restrained approach at least visually to the genre though with a tongue to cheek being about the most explicit activity shown from memory. One where you really have to pay attention to the dialogue though as that ending...wow.

Wish you were here

Oof. Ever lost a loved one? Yeah it bloody hurts and this effort conveyed that with immense gravity as two tightly knit sisters came to terms with having lost both of their parents in a tragic accident. Nice little touches like calling her sibling 'little bean' and it meaning something showed a good awareness for building character development, and the escapist but minimalist BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA fantasy pulled the wool over the audience' eyes very nicely when the required wish came into play. The audio could have done with some work here as some of the dialogue was hard to discern but very much appreciate going for the jugular with mature themes and a serious tone. That enormous puddle might have been the biggest I saw in the Wellington heats!

Cut Up

Really well shot, like the best shot teen film by far this year in terms of framing and focus. Reminded me of the 80s slasher He Knows You’re Alone stylistically, with the puzzle pieces being kind of obvious and yet the slow burning revelation still having good effect. Nice work.

Imaginary friend

air bnb host* not house*

Zleepers

Clowns teleport to earth and rap/sing about them hoping this planet will allow them to chance to sleep for the first time in 10 million years. A couple of good ultra low budget physical effect jokes (gloves as beards, 'zzz' paper drawn out of a mouth), unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of clowns and the music was random rather than catchy or melodic.

Crossroads

'Inspired' by Reservoir Dogs, had three accomplices point guns at each other whilst they argued over the divy up of a bag with mysterious contents that was in the middle of them. I found the dialogue pretty forced, but the film was entirely watchable as it had a slick sense of style.

Displacement

[Disqualified, and didn't come to their heat = BOO] Not sure if you deserve a review if you don't come to your own heat but here goes. More found footage because the team clearly wanted to use this new genre. Only this time it is for a sole survivor to record their own activity for their own shits and giggles. Think I Am Legend but in an office with not a lot going on and you've pretty much got the film, until a mysterious strange figure is viewed on a monitor that covers outside. Given horror was the actual genre not hard to guess what happens next. Focusing on just one character is ballsy but you basically need to play it for laughs or have someone with chops who can pull it off. Maybe next year hey?

Super Foul

Well done on also ticking the box for gross-out comedy!

Despite strict instructions to stay grounded in reality when entertaining themselves, a couple of young wizards bend the rules and smash an invisibile tennis ball through a nearby window, leading to a heist attempt to retrieve it whilst showing their first year spellcasting inexperience to hilarious effect.

A really vibrant entertaining energy to this film, that played like a very clear Harry Potter parody, but at the same time captured the youthful vigour of young students, their shit chat and risk taking nature that is all too common.

The two leads had a great buddy relationship, playing off each other through a well written script that was highlighted by their attempts to get into the apartment with the offending object inside. The misfiring spells also got some belly laughs from me, and the D-kiss (no spoilers) almost made me lose my dinner. Foul, super foul, indeed.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Boxed Away

Narnia-lite with a box full of memories being used as a transportation device to magical worlds; a couple in fact with one having an Alice in Wonderland flavour and the other more medieval. The cardboard sword fights were well done and the tea party ala Alice was particularly warped. As a family make a move, the young boy must rifle through his collection of childhood memories one last time as they pack up boxes... I just felt the film needed a bit of work on its narrative. I was trying to make head and tails of the rainbow flag and whether this film was trying to be metaphorical but decided to just go along for the ride through the box as the film was more or less an ode to coming of age.

Lucy

Months of work on an android suddenly comes to fruition, and this short examined the repercussions given that not everything was exactly fine tuned yet. Could have been better, as just merging the ideas of Frankenstein and The Terminator without motivation for the killing removed any real tension. It was getting there towards the end in terms of the couple actually being believable, but was just a bit underdeveloped overall.

Old Man Bones

So there have been some teams in the last few years that have gone very far in this competition making unusual or striking visual choices. This film was also visually very different, but the thing that separates the really good films is that they will still tell a very strong story. A lot of this film was pure eye candy, which makes giving a star rating kind of hard as I'm sure they nailed what they set out to achieve, but it felt like the unclear storyline did not engage the audience as much as it could have. I don't think I will ever forget the cat legs, though. Or the dream dancing with the lion and chief. Music was good, at least, but I personally found it a case of style over substance.

Cut Rate

Topical splatire about the Wellington renters markets; tenants desperate to get a house at any means necessary, then go even further to get the rent price to go down when they remember they're not millionaires. Silly as anything bringing to mind a Three Stooges sensibility (only 2 actors here though) I liked the commitment to corniness and the payoff put my heart in a blender, so to say. Good laughs but the audio was poor in large stretches.

Survival of the mutant

4 years in the future a virus attacks the whole world, and so people decide to make the most of their last time by spending and sharing time with friends and family/sharing video and skyping. Started off cringe-worthy and got better...and better...and better until I was literally crying from laughter at the stupid things our narrator would quip on. I mean a young boy with a slingshot? Yeah ok. Drinking mate with a BBQ? Good to reminisce I supposed. But yeah the team just snapped and our narrator came up with some goldmines of dialogue. "Go Nick Go" "Alanis Morissette isn't ironic, she's just inept". So yeah in other words another best worst contender.

The Ballad of Kiwi Kate

Topical western set in the town of Tinder that had gun-toting Bob fresh out of England blasting away anyone he disliked. That thunderous passion leads him to his would-be mate Kate but through a ROMEO & JULIET like familial faf the tale twists into a tail of revenge with her trusty steed Jacinda by her side.

Narrated through an actual ballad that was particularly well performed, this was a slow burner that paid off in spades. Very down to earth humour, taking jabs at Australia and using cheese rolls for a horse as punchlines, I liked the commitment to making an authentic western with outstanding costuming. To be honest for me the blow up horse worked really well, giving your film some much needed life and humour.

Now the things for me which stood out a bit were the pacing. It is all well and good to build your short up, it just felt like transtions and developments by being guided through the narration kind of just happened without weight whether dramatic or comic. Some really great visuals, but the edit at times also felt a bit jumpy and sudden too in my book. Having said that, the ending was good and kind of covered up a lot of these issues by leaving me with a smile.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Reversed

Nice comic timing and quality simplistic special effects kept this topical comedy entertaining and got some good laughs from the crowd as a teenage boy unwittingly gets granted superpowers and uses them for mischief. Puke, pony tails...and poofter jokes. Yes you absolutely lost me with a single word. I've made a stand against homophobic jokes in this competition for years and will continue to do so as long as I'm part of it. Good script, performances and editing from a technical point of view, though.

Cry

[DQ] New parents have to suffer the horror of a baby that will not stop crying. This really does not help with Vic’s insomnia and so he reaches out for help from friends but gets a reality check. The baby’s screams sounded very real which was quite unpleasant, but for only a few seconds did this approach being a horror film.

Keep Your Game Face On

A board game playing syndicate has high stakes, that increase when Vic Meyer arrives to the party. Full of puns on popular creations by the likes of Hasbro, Jenga etc this team simply went with one idea and ran full steam ahead. Some hissing sound distracked, but the guerrilla approach was really entertaining. I think the hierarchial structure and importance of change could have been examined a bit more though, as the convergence of stories was a bit weak.

Queen of Hearts

Fate or obsession? Sometimes a difficult question to answer, as a seemingly innocuous relationship gathers steam pretty damn quick at least on one end. Kept ramping up the obsession at a suitable pace until (in my mind) a homage to 'Heathers' brought things to a fitting conclusion. Both leads were excellent.

Snuffed Out

Survivors wonder where their renegade friend Nicky Brick may be, with both pretty confident that he has risked the raving savages that rove the post-apocalyptic wasteland once again. Having a car involved in the piece seemed only out of place given that there seemed to have been early important dialogue about a lack of rations, and yet petrol can be used for the commodity of moving something on 4 wheels? Odd. Be that as it may this was a mainly sit around and talk end of the world one shot film. I would have personally tried to cover more sparsely populated areas but that’s just me. A lot of wind sound was very distracting, please watch out for it in future.

Fix the Sync

It is never nice to be third wheel if a best friend develops a new relationship, and this was exactly the area that Gimble Gang explored through raging at one of the guys giving up 10 hours of daily esports training to spend time with his new girlfriend.

Of course, raging at someone over not going to the local gaming tournament is a pretty shitty thing to do, and so we get a bit of self-reflection leading towards the fixing of broken bonds.

Played fairly straightforward there was not as much meat on the bones to this story as I would have liked to have seen. It felt like a fairly quick realisation of error and move to cover a 'my bad'.

I did like the driven nature of the esports competitor so upset at losing his team mate, which was well portrayed by the actor.

Story: 1.5/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 1.5/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Itch

Starting with a panicked character running to a lift to escape an unseen force, the team paid homage to films such as THE RING where a minor character gets killed to kick things off, with the excitement being the unfolding of layers as the story proper gets told.

From here further homages were baked in such as to HELLRAISER with a captivating object bringing on the horror and utilising the 'all that glitters is not gold' trop to decent effect.

The slow-burn approach was appreciated for the most part, with framing evocative of j-horror legend Kiyoshi Kurosawa (KAIRO, CURE et all) and a sense of dread. However for me it was a bit too slow because the edit needed to be streamlined. There were lots of really good creepy shots but some of them really felt like they could have hit the cutting room floor as did little to advance the plot.

Your lead actress's performance was strong, and sound was good for the most part although had some ups and downs in quality. The biggest work on from me other than the edit would be the lighting, which I felt to be a bit too dark for a decent amount of the film. Shadows are great to utilise but seeing details like facial expressions allows characters to generate depth, whereas by going too dark it felt like characters were actually obscured at times which took me out of the moment.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 2/5
Elements: 2.5/5
Overall: 2/5

SHE'S OUT OF THIS WORLD

Warriors fight for the right to marry the Princess Junkadia (sp?) on Planet Falcor, but she wants to marry for love and not just who is the strongest and therefore flies off to Planet Earth to get away from the barbaric tradition of her people. Running into an Earthling who can show her our ways of life is of course a refreshing change, but the warriors also possess the ability to fly between planets so could catch up with her at any time. Effects were great as always but I also thought this was verging on being more of a Fantasy Adventure than Rom Com with the whole 5th Element meets Superman 2 vibe that I was getting (and a lot of the ideas being the same as those films). The laughs are more based on character expression and some 'oh shit didn't see that coming!' [usually from the outstanding fx] than script based dialogue that I've come to expect to entertain me from this team. Having said that the chemistry between the two leads is decent, and her stalking him is a nice change-up to the standard romcom formula. But yes the ending dare I say it did feel quite formulaic and forced, even. Hard to rate this one on its own terms knowing the team's fantastic body of work but not quite as good as previous years apart from the fx improving even more.

Captured

I see this being noted as being an 'Immobilised' film but my notes are really lacking anything that highlighted how you explored that angle, and making sure your film is identifiable as its given genre should be one of the first things an audience is able to pick up on with 48 Hours. Friends tried their best to help out a depressed/immobilised Vic Meyer. A great POV shot from the basin, but really needed a stronger narrative arc.

shortmatch

Kicking myself for not paying attention as to whether this was an original score or not. If it was chalk it down as a front runner for the Wellington award. If not, very well selected indeed. A couple of guys who very well may be the last men on earth bunker up and grow increasingly paranoid of each other every day, leading to drawing straws for who stays and who has to fully don their radiation suit and face the outside world once the supplies have run out. Excellent post-apocalyptic feel and again that saturated Tangerine Dream-like soundtrack fitted perfectly. Unfortunately I am marking it down a point for a shot taking me out of the film where vital information was missed and it no longer felt like the end of the world. Good open ending, too.

Refraction

Refraction is the change in direction of a wave passing from one medium to another. Really clever title here by team Tinker Tailor as a woman contemplated how we only have 12 years to turn the planet around, but also contemplated how her own world was turned around by not loving as a teenager and then the pandemic coming.

First of all, this was the sort of film that the stock footage rule was designed for. It was kind of incredible to see you re-purpose that Climate Change March footage from 2019 to reflectively show anger and passion from a teenager who cared, and contrast it with the demure mature woman who narrated the film having lived an adult life.

Editing here was really well done, with the push and pull effect of the 2 timelines giving the film a heartbeat as our narrator contemplated the wave of cultural zeitgest towards doing something about our planet under attack through global warming, through to the refraction of attitudes once the pandemic hit.

These are big, serious, crucial topics and conversations to be had. You were at the top of your game in terms of craft putting this together, but just personally I felt it missed a key element of the plot developing through the film. Yes meditative and beautiful for the most part, but we were quite simply told what had happened to the planet, and what opportunitie she had missed.
I just needed more to have connected with the character. Just being told what happened wasn't enough for me, I needed to see that consequence they described visually and clearly. Having said that I feel that the table in the older woman's loft potentially held these missing pieces, so might need to watch again at some point in case I missed anything.

Last thing...antihero? Well the climate change marcher was a hero. Reluctant hero? Well the climate change marcher was anything but reluctant. Unlikely hero? I thought the teenage footage was of the school march? I guess that kind of fits if we say we didn't expect the schools to march. But to me that's a big stretch on the character requirement hence the low elements grade from me sorry.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 4/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

Panic planet

Placeholder review.

2 Guys 1 Pug

A lackadaisical hitman with a love for pizza and panda masks decides to take a job for much needed money, especially when his last scratchy card produces 2 cheerios and nothing more. This was a confident, colourful low budget romp as our protagonist's fuck you attitude to the world was presented in everything about him from his untidy apartment, through to relaxed approach towards getting to an urgent mission.

The highlight of the film was of course the parking lot battle between our baseball bat wielding hero and the Puppy Muncher who seemed like they were straight out of POWER RANGERS. Certainly seemed like the team were having a blast as they busted out some over the top fight sequences, with an excellent heartbeat, well tempoed music and zany entertaining camera angles that worked particularly well for the taunts and challenges thrown down by each fighter.

A bombastic ending rounded things off nicely. Certainly a bit light on character development and story, but one of the most entertaining films in the heats this year.

Story: 2/5
Technical: 3/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Toasted

A mockumentary based around our protagonist being able to make toast with his eyes, with the reason for his documentation by a film crew being his claim that he is the only superhero in the world.

After we literally had "Bread" as the required element in the 2015 this was always going to be a hard sell especially when it pulled almost all the standard mockumentary tropes out that I am not a fan of. Case in point, talking head interview where talks about local toast statistics followed by footage in the apartment where tries to toast some rhye faster to hammer home the joke. It just doesn't really work for me from an engaging storytelling point of view.

Your lead actor performed the material he was given well would be my main positive about the film. Sound was clear too and editing not bad. But the bland apartment detracted from the mostly good camerawork and grading. I get that the whole idea was to make a humanistic mockumentary, but for me it was just as plain as white bread.

The girlfriend playing along but then giving us the predictable ending we expected was a tad flat, basically because the punchline was just again a talking head interview where she listed her powers. Yes there were newspapers to give it scope, but they felt rushed when there was a big opportunity to either use her knowledge of his BS for a story beat earlier in the piece, or really use her powers for something more impactful.

Story: 1/5
Technical: 2.5/5
Elements: 2/5
Overall: 1.5/5

Follow Her

Placeholder review.

Wings of Fate

Placeholder review.

Courting Assistance Technology And Matchmaking Expert

A non-linear framework of interviewing for a very personal position is actually a smart move for a 48 Hours film, especially when you use it to really get under the skin of the protagonist and what makes her tick, essentially creating a strong sense of depth to the character. It takes a metric ton of skill from your scripwriting department, but I must admit I was thoroughly engaged by this short.

The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle were expertly put together as our interviewees detailed their backgrounds as couch surfers or coming from old money with just the right touch of hints thrown at viewers for the shape of things to come.

The sonic soundscape was really well done as was the edit. In years past this is the sort of quality film that would have probably made finals. But there's 2 moderate issues that I could see that prevented is standing out from the pack. First, location was very plain with minimal set dressing. It really does matter these days, and secondly basically the whole film is people sitting down and talking to each other. As dynamic and colour as characters and outfits may be, it does hold a film back when it comes down to judging.

Story: 3/5
Technical: 3.5/5
Elements: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Master

What a good boy that dog was! Percival I think I saw on the credits? Managed to keep a very calm demeanour as all hell was breaking loose for his masters due an unexpected nasty terrorising the neighbourhood. Direction on this was really top notch and the team showed their experience in building suspense in such a short space of time, with money shots that celebrated the genre in the best possible way. Aware of tropes and yet subversive as domesticated bliss came under attack like an old sea monster film. EDIT - Winnie! Not Percival...lol

Glance Forwards

[DQ] I came incredibly close to not putting up a review of this film. I thought I missed something the second time we watched it, but if I did then so did the 6 or 7 other people I talked to who also thought the only noticeable difference was a slight chance of pacing at the start and some added music at the end reminiscent of Vertigo. * If you weren't at the heat the wrong file played; the team were in competition but chose to DQ themselves and hand in a 'better' version for artistic integrity and thus we watched the 'correct' version at the end of the heat. ...onto the film... A young woman on the edge losing her will to live in the present day is contrasted with an old couple who have just received what likes like a standard television set in the 60s (?), but after playing around with the receiver for a bit is shown to be more than its initial appearance. The team went for a slightly meta approach in terms of the convergence of the storylines. Well acted, well shot. I personally think you should have stayed in the competition but appreciate that is entirely up to you.

Tempus

A time travelling guide explained the mechanations of time travel in particular the idea of challenging tragedy. The set design was of particularly high quality and the lead actor who played 'Cronos' had watchable creepy screen presence. The negative marks for mine were an over-reliance on exposition because there was definitely some promise to explore the doors of time. Nice ending, mind.

The Tender Grace

Beautifully shot with nary an issue with the deeply saturated strongly contrasted film from a technical point of view, and every last cent was rung out of the amazing old house this team had access to. Plus they had a beautiful orchestral score. The film itself investigated a murder with several suspects from a tightly knit family. But unfortunately to mine the plot was disappointingly flat and some 48Hours tropes that have been a bugbear of mine for many years reared their ugly head (in particular violence towards women in crime/horror films especially any promiscuous women).

One Last Game

Definitely adventure more than action as a couple of siblings set out for treasure that they believe their grandfather will have left them after they scatter his ashes. This sparks the sister up as she has been given a 48 hour notice of foreclosure, and so the hunt for treasure represents a chance to save the farm. That description makes the plot far more convulated than it was. The main charm behind this film was its true blue kiwi dialogue and positive energy, which overcame any technical shortfalls it may have had.

The Portable Pizza Predicament

Placeholder review.

Bad Omen

Slick cursed-typewriter type film within a film that had some nice comedic touches and an excellently acted hobo prepared to do anything for food. I liked how smooth some of your transitions were and the dialogue was good. I also commend that the genre was subverted, but unfortunately to me this was done at the expense of a coherent story.

Captured

I see this being noted as being an 'Immobilised' film but my notes are really lacking anything that highlighted how you explored that angle, and making sure your film is identifiable as its given genre should be one of the first things an audience is able to pick up on with 48 Hours. Friends tried their best to help out a depressed/immobilised Vic Meyer. A great POV shot from the basin, but really needed a stronger narrative arc.

Sharon and Cobie

Seemingly charming domestic house cat turns out to be fairly damn crass when given a voice by their loving owner inadvertently. Treaded the line between gross and introspective, almost a personal film at times, a couple of the jokes hit but I think I kind of missed the message here. As was said at the launch I'd encourage you to get out of your house for the shoot weekend!

Monkey Business

Our busking lead needs to come up with two grand in a weekend or else he's toast. His only real option though is dancing in a monkey suit and only Wellington zoo will grant him a (expensive) license to perform. Doesn't really help when their previous primate with moves was the best they ever had. An enthusiastically acted but mean-spirited zoo director and female zookepper all too willing to help through a dance training montage [think F*Dance a few years back] kept this one kicking. Some really solid dancing on display, and a very cheeky sense of hu