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The Independent Critic

Michael Oku, Laura Brailsford, Freddie Merrydown, Heather Carter-Drake, Blu Hardy, Georgina Hall, Lottie Rose-Hulme, Jason Imlach
Alexander Nijhoff, Olivia Parkinson
Olivia Parkinson

 "Party Animal" Gets Set for Festival Circuit 
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Finley (Michael Oku) and Rachel (Laura Brailsford) head home to Rachel's family for the holidays in Party Animal, a just over eight-minute short film getting ready for the indie fest circuit with a slew of screenings already lined up for the independent co-production created by students at Westminster Film School in London, UK. 

You could be forgiven if, ever so briefly, you found yourself wondering if you'd stumbled into Get Out, the Jordan Peele-directed film that has been all the rage this year but a film that is decidedly not comical. This film is, in fact, a comical one featuring a sly, charming performance by Oku, whose bewilderment at the scenario that surrounds him and the predicament that he eventually finds himself in is brought to life with a quiet hilarity more revealed in his body language than in Olivia Parkinson's understated dialogue. 

As a fan of British humor, which tends to be more understated and character-driven than a lot of American cinematic humor, I found myself tremendously appreciate of the approach taken by co-directors Parkinson and Alexander Nijhoff, an approach that mined the off-kilter relational qualities for Finley when dropped into this strange new world where even the littlest thing that should go right doesn't. 

At a mere eight minutes in length, Party Animal moves quickly and tells a story you might not be expecting. What at first appears to be yet another dysfunctional family holiday film becomes an entirely different beast altogether. 

Cezar Tatarau's lensing is inventive and fun in the way that Tatarau captures events practically frozen in time and makes it feel like Finley is living in a fish bowl as his first meeting with the in-laws goes from awkward to disastrous to downright funny. 

For more information on Party Animal and to follow its festival journey, visit the film's official Facebook page linked to in the credits to the left of this review. If you're in the UK, where multiple screenings are already set, you'll definitely want to check it out.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic