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by Dystography Studios


Despite being stealthy in his break in, a burglar is forced to act quickly and luckily has duct tape to keep the inhabitants out of his way, but he didn't factor in gatekeeping Greg to appear on the scene and chastise his P.R.I.C.K tecnique, or lack thereof.

Really well put together edit and good use of WestOne Music, with a heavy throbbing central song giving the film a sense of urgency and a very dark tone given the subject matter. The black comedy though gave the film an edge as the bureaucrat reminded our lead the importance of risk assessment and health and safety for these kind of operations.

Excellent performances contrasting blue collar and white collar workers, fire and brimstone versus ticking boxes all whilst a bound and gagged couple desperately squirmed to get free.

Overall the script was great, sound design really solid and for the most part camerawork strong. A couple of shots weren't quite as bulletproof focused as others, and the light vs dark tone didn't come off 100% of the time, but most of the time it worked. Honestly don't care where Greg came from, and not knowing made the film better I feel!

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

Really strong set up and great comedy characters. A funny reference to previous film, and great action, with effects and sound that really sells the action in a fun way with just the right level of gruesome.

It's always scary as city manager, to review a film from a legacy team who didn't quite make the cut this year - and please believe me, no one took any joy in ending Dystography Studio's impressive city finals streak (what are we talking, 7? 8 years in a row?).

Of course when I say no one took any joy, I should probably clarify that the judging process is a collection of numbers assigned by judges who don't know what anyone else is picking, so done blind - but still, I know firsthand the sting of not making the finals when you've done so in the past, and this same fate has befallen other Christchurch best-of-the-best teams in the past like TBALC or Strang Entertainment. Neither of those teams entered this year, so I hope this isn't an omen.

PRICK, still, is a fun time made by filmmakers who know what they're doing and enjoy what they're doing, and a lot of the polish associated with this team is still present here. I think its an engaging premise and I always do like it when ya'll stick to comedy over drama, but therein may lie the issue, as I'm not sure the comedy merged as well with the hard R drama injected into your film this year, and I found myself caring more about the silent hostage characters than the burglar and Greg.

Some nitpicky things I usually wouldn't mention in a review, but you guys are big players in the comp and are probably hoping for comprehensive feedback:
- As I said above, I found it difficult to identify with the main characters, and actually immediately assumed the hostages would get a lot more play
- Why are the hostages so underused? One of them is even killed and the other doesn't seem to react
- There is a flashframe which was accidentally left in the final cut, though this shows up a lot clearer on a tv screen than a laptop screen.
- The footage is a bit rougher than your usual output - don't tell Oppo I said this
- The audio is a bit inconsistent
- As I've mentioned in other reviews, my personal bugbear this year is films set in boring modern houses
- Finally, I think the final closing line was cool, but it's a callback to something which JUST happened one story beat earlier (mentioning that body disposal is a two person job). This kind of twisty callback "oh shit" moment always works better when the thing being called back to happened at the beginning of the film, that way its bookended.

I wonder as well if there's something to be said for the execution of your premise. A H&S officer for cat burglary (loved the callback to 2021's winner btw) is genius, but does it go anywhere ultimately interesting? In the end our makeshift protagonist is left dying and Greg is basically like "told ya so", something anyone would have been able to predict from the start. Burglary is wrong and dangerous... but what if it wasn't? Or what if, these two characters both find themselves needing to set aside their differences and work together? What if they discover they both need each other?

Now all of this being said, I still really enjoyed the film, which boasts some solid performances, hilarious jokes and fun gory effects, but I think that knowing how good your stuff usually is, made this entry into the Dystography library leaving a little to be desired. That being said, and here's a quote for your poster, I think we all know this is probably the best film to not graduate from the shortlist this year. Or rather, 2022's biggest snub.

Challenge for next year: I reckon go outside, explore making a film with a dozen different locations - or don't and just do what you know works best. I adored your film last year, so I'm not sure you need my advice.

As AJ mentions Dystography have been in so many CHCH finals and last year's GF that you just expect them to be there. And, we've shared a few heats over the years which they've emerged successfully from.

It's fair to say that I didn't really vibe with "P.R.I.C.K.". The idea of a clipboard-wielding H & R guy visiting a crime in progress is just a bit too Flying Circus for me. Now, there is clever dialogue, the performances are good and the situation is so ludicrous that it is humourous - but there is just very little to care about. Everyone is rather unlikeable or just not present. Perhaps having a couple of bickering burglars, one over officious would have been a better way to go. AJ mentioned the lack of reaction of the female hostage and this includes when the break-in first occurs - she seems really unsurprised which I thought might have led to something. Technically not as typically sharp with a few harsh cuts, that flash-frame and some audio inconsistencies.

Still, it appears to be the 16th best film in CHCH this year which I'm sure is equally good to hear and incredibly frustrating for you!

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