Jeremy Banks, Melissa Penick, Tim Labonte, Courtney Jones, Frederick Fairbanks, Richard Goulis, Grant Maloy Smith, Maria Ciampa and Rufus the Cat DIRECTED BY
Christian de Rezendes SCREENPLAY
Jenn Dlugos, Andrea G. Henry RUNNING TIME
16 Mins. BREAKING BRANCHES PICTURES WEBSITE
Okay, it's not actually a huge surprise. It is a joy to see the lighter side of such a fine filmmaker after having caught his recent films REVEALED and 41, both films featuring a more serious tone. Cat Scratch is as simple as that, a film about an insurance salesman named Jeff (Jeremy Banks) who gets scratched by a neighborhood cat and who suddenly becomes completely and utterly paranoid that, just perhaps, said cat is rabid and he has become inflicted.
Cat Scratch spirals into a 16-minute journey through paranoia, hijinks and man vs. beast with nearly single moment of it played for silliness and laughs with an ever so slight dark thread dancing down the center of it all. The film is penned by Jenn Dlugos and Andrea G. Henry with an eye towards realistic absurdity that sometimes has Jeff acting like Estragon waiting for Godot.
Go ahead. Wrap your mind around that one.
Grant Maloy Smith, who also makes an appearance in the film, adds to the festivities some delightfully light and quirky music and sound effects, while de Rezendes lenses the film in a way that allows almost everything that goes on to feel strangely normal even as it gets sillier and funnier.
Of course, it helps to have an actor such as Jeremy Banks leading the way. Banks is terrific as Jeff, the perfect blend of "guy next door" and increasingly paranoid neighbor from hell. Wisely, Banks never goes over-the-top as Jeff but instead he serves up a slow burn that is far more satisfying and quite a bit funnier.
The recently completed Cat Scratch is the latest film from Breaking Branches Pictures, an impressive outfit based in the New England area with an increasingly awesome filmography across genres. This film is just beginning its festival run, but it should have no problem finding a home on the indie fest circuit and, most certainly, festivals with an animal-themed block will want to make sure to check out this film.
For more information, visit the Breaking Branches Pictures website listed in the credits to the left of this review.