Directed by: Eric Bair
Written by: Eric Bair
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Descensus Ad Mortem
Elderly lady Delia is mourning the loss of her husband, but can't even attend his wake. She suffers from a severe fear of stairs and it's because of this, that she can't attend. But her late husband has left something for her. Something for her to find. It's his final gift, a push for her to overcome her fear and descend the stairs to get it. Can she do it?
Descensus Ad Mortem is a story of attempting to better yourself and overcome your fears. A plot anyone of any age can appreciate. Keeping things short, Eric Bair's title is just over 10 minutes in length. The perfect run time to get in, tell a story and get out. It's unfortunate that such a solid idea is marred by the technical limitations of a micro budget and possibly, a slight lack of experience?
As a short film, this was a good story to tell. Uplifting and charming using a seaside location as Delia's home. It's also the location itself the presents one of the biggest plot holes in the script. Why would a woman suffering such a severe fear of steps, live in or remain in a home with so many stairs? I'm not talking about 1 or 2 steps, but instead flights upon flights of them. Anyone with this fear would 'never' live here. It just makes no sense.
This title also has a lot of shaky camera work. I don't fully understand why because other shots are very well done. Bair clearly had use of a tripod so why not use it more? There were also a lot of scenes that drug on and on. Probably for drama; but watching a few minutes of someone navigating a flight of stairs lost it's appeal quickly. It's one thing to use these shots to demonstrate a point. It's another thing to beat the dead horse. I get it. I understood the point. No need to keep things going on far longer than needed.
I did enjoy the acting of Carol Hannan as Delia mostly. She played her part in a believable way, and although sometimes hard to hear, her actions and expressions sold this title. Sold Delia's fears. And it's these fears I related with. Not the fear of steps but rather just fear in general. We are 'all' afraid of something including common things.
This was a decent short film that even though wasn't perfect, was perfectly watchable. Compared to some micro or no budget titles I've seen, that were unwatchable, I have to give credit where credit is due. This was a good demonstration of how our fears control us, but with some determination we can win out against them. Thanks for reading.