A Deep Conversation

Average: 3.1 (6 votes)
The Back from the Dead Movie
Auckland > 09

A recently deceased man chats life and death with his grave neighbour.

Not a bad approach here to have our two leads stuck in a kind of limbo. It's nicely shot and giving a bit pf depth to the audio suited the situation. Some of the humour seemed a little forced at times, especially when you felt the need to add some tired kiwi jokes - thankfully we didn't get a "nek minute". The grave site was a slight problem for me as it was very obviously at the border of a park and even more obviously not freshly dug for someone who had died so recently, so it may have been better just to stay under the surface once you'd established that setting. The main issue is that story wise not a lot happens. There isn't really any goal for the characters and we're not really given any hope that their is anyway for them to get out of their situation & cross-over. Enjoyed the ending though so well done!

Bit of a surreal vibe to this one as a man whose death caused a lot of grief wakes up and forms a bond with his fellow grave neighbour, 6 feet under. Interesting approach in that we just came into the film with the supernatural resurrection unexplained, which is a choice that I don't really have any problems with. Open-ended, it felt like whilst we were shown the recently deceased in their graves this was essentially a conversation between their souls.

By and large the framing was great, presenting a believable surround of being buried in a cemetery, and most of the editing was on point although I noticed a couple of cuts at the start that were a tad jumpy. The script was engaging, and made you think what you would do in the same sort of situation yourself, which I think is what the team was trying to achieve, other than the obvious message of making sure you live each day as though it is your last - pop culture being referenced in a humorous way but working as a bit of a sad point in terms of things that actually matter was the highlight to the script.

Probably a rare example in 48hours where I felt this one was missing a 3rd act.


It was an interesting concept for a short film, the guy wakes up in his coffin and discovers him and his neighbour are in the same situation so they strike up a conversation. They managed to shoot everything reasonably well here, making them look underground in their coffins to selling the location as a cemetery. I didn't think all of the edits worked and some of the camera angles were a little awkward but It still worked well enough, I wonder if the makers of this film have seen Buried which is a very different tone. I guess the one thing I found confusing was that I wasn't sure if they were actually awake in their coffins or if this is the filmmakers way of saying they're either in the after life or stuck somewhere on the way to the after life. The dialogue was interesting to keep you invested on the film but I think maybe it could have finished in a more emotionally satisfying way. Some conflict is introduced about the way Toutai's character died and it sort of gets mixed in with him having no one to talk to for months and then they are all happy again and decide to have a bit of a laugh. I think it could have been more interesting if you played around a bit more with the way he died and dragged that through the film to a more emotional reveal and then slap on the joke finish.

I like this concept, the leads were sturdy, and the setting suited 48Hour filmmaking very well. It allowed for a very clean look and neat camerawork/editing tricks that effectively conveyed coffin life and the depth of the grave.

However, a conversation-focused short relies on sharp dialogue, and that's ultimately what's missing here.

There were numerous small lines that could have been boosted to show the older character's loneliness and/or time he's spent in the ground. Comments like "I think I'm next to you" for example could have instead played off how well he got to know the graveyard ("You're in allotment B5, segment 12 which puts me 45 degrees on your left"). The film also establishes that he died in 2013, which means he wouldn't know what the hell a Brexit was. That felt like an opportunity gone missing. (I did like the Batman Avengers line, though.) Also, when you have a subtitle that says 'Two Months Later', you don't need someone restating "We've been stuck here for two months now..." - just cut straight to "...you still haven't told me how you died."

That last point, in particular, could have been expanded on earlier with the character trying to bring the topic up but having the other guy avoid it. That would create a tease to make the audience wonder why he's holding that info back throughout the film. As it ends up though, it goes straight from 0 to 100 in a single instant, and is less effective as a result. It's also a pity that he mentions how he's had no one to talk to for years, and yet his first calm-and-collected interaction doesn't really reflect this.

I liked the ending though. It seems inevitable that these two characters would go into a verbal flurry about death, revival, and how much it sucks to be in their situation with no explanation. But, hey, they have each other, and that soothes the pain. I found that bittersweet. I just wish that when they went out to scare that person, we actually got to see that person being scared.


A film that tackles and interesting topic, with an interesting premise. It was well shot, and well put together. And having read your credits, big salute to Theo who appears to have done the bulk of the technical work--no easy feat to have a film that looks this polished within 48 hours when the technical stuff is mainly on 1 person!

The shots showing the depth of the grave were great. I agree with some of the others about needing slightly snappier dialog to make it really pull you along with it, and also with needing to show the man who has been dead for longer's reluctance to talk about how he died before the climactic part. I also found something a little disconcerting with the framing of the close up shots relative to the shots from their feet angle. For the new dead guy especially it seemed like we were looking down from the top of his head in the close up, but up from his feet in the other shot, and I'm not sure why but it didn't quite feel like the positions lined up and felt a little discontinuous. But really didn't have a huge impact on the overall feel. I do feel like there wasn't quiet a character or story arc in the sense of the main character or the other guy getting something he needed, or there being a resolution to their situation, but maybe that's the point, death is death, and you're there forever (so drive safely, lol).

Overall well polished and a great film :)

A deep and meaningful conversation takes place deep underground. I see what you did there. Great script and nicely shot, it really felt like they were 6 feet under. A few of the cuts between similar but different camera angles were disorienting and made me think there were more than two characters at first. More logic in the editing choices could have solved this, and made for a snappier film. Overall a really strong effort, I liked it a lot.