Speak Up

Average: 2.2 (4 votes)
The Back from the Dead Movie
Christchurch > 06

A man and his daughter bury a box on the beach that contains an important message.

A grim, serious short that details the trauma of serious sexual assault. It's all done respectfully however and delivered in fine style with some nice camerawork and editing. The use of a drone can sometimes be token but in this film it has a natural fit with the story. My main note is that early on this became a PSA. The stats shown as text on screen early on in the film kind of took me out of it. I think the film could have played without them (or inserted at the end) as the story was clear enough. It was also a brave choice to have the rapist addressing the camera in the way he did, essentially breaking the 4th wall but again this ties in to the PSA nature.

Impactful and stylistic. A great debut entry for the captain of this team who has ruled the quantity of school entries in CHCH since 2011.

I think you're idea here was really powerful.

I also think - this film was a little unbalanced, and became an advocacy video a bit too quickly for the audience to feel the impact. The spoken word was great, but could have easily been incorporated into the story by just getting him to talk to some mates at a bar or something, the stats were good but not right bang in the middle of the film without any context to go off of, too much of a shock for us to really appreciate the art form.

That being said, it was very artistic and passionate, and I'm proud of you guys for being bold in choosing to create something that can easily have a big impact on somebody else, it would be good in the future to find that balance a little better if you plan on doing something like this again.


While I don't doubt that the intentions here were good, I unfortunately feel that the execution was flawed. In all honesty, it felt as though the whole topic was shoehorned, and it lacked sincerity.

I think putting a bit more into developing the characters may have helped - as it was, I felt very little connection, even to the victim, who is meant to be the protagonist.

Ending the film on "Me too" felt like a cheapening of both the film and the movement.

It's extremely hard to tackle this sort of subject with a limit of 5 minutes. While I do think the message is important, I think that perhaps you need to develop the method in which it is delivered a bit more and maybe address it when you are able to do so with more time and sensitivity.

I wasn’t too happy with the way this film turned out. It seems as though you went into the competition with this in mind, and although I think it’s great to be tackling this issue, it really wasn’t handled in an ideal manner.

While I liked the aesthetic and didn’t mind the PSA vibe, the scene with the shooting is really quite atrocious and is simply sending the completely wrong message.

Alexander Jones
city manager

A lot of the reviews on here have echoed my feelings about this film, but I'll try go in depth anyway.

I'll start by saying I'm absolutely on board with this film's message (though who isn't?), and I think there is evidence of some very talented filmmakers on this team.

Ultimately though, I feel this was very much the wrong forum to execute this message. It wasn't just that it feels like a PSA, but it's also very loosely connecting itself to the genre, which leads me to believe, as others have said, that you guys all decided to make a film about #metoo before the weekend, which isn't AGAINST the rules necessarily, but certainly not in the spirit of the competition- if this assumption on my part is even true which it may not be- but the idea of this team brainstorming on the Friday night and landing on this idea is equally as bizarre.

After the statistics, we get to the poem, which really just drilled down into what was already the burgeoning troubled nature of this film. I think poetry, especially spoken word, can at the best of times be pretty hard to take seriously (I say this having actually dabbled in the art form as well), and with such a serious subject it almost felt like you guys were burying yourself even further.

Both digging up a piece of paper saying "Your Voice" and the lead saying "Me Too" were both pretty heavy handed- and worst of all cheesy, which is exactly the vibe a film about these subjects should not have.

I do respect the attempt to do something serious here, but if this was absolutely the story you wanted to tackle there are better ways of doing it. It would have been heavy, but way more effective if you moved all the spirit and intent behind the stats and the metaphor and the poem into an actual narrative story...

One of the other reviews mentions that showing the lead executing her rapist was the wrong message to send, and I agree that this is quite a dangerous way of thinking about revenge, HOWEVER I feel it's only dangerous because it's such a high concept filmic way of dealing with a rapist, which is then coupled once again with the no nonsense seriousness of the stats and the buzzwords being delivered.

This is all to say that if your movie had just been a traditionally told short film about a woman who escapes from an evil dude, and then proceeds to come back for revenge (maybe she's even saving others still kidnapped), then you have a film that both deals with the message you were looking at (sure the on the surface stuff of a woman defeating a rapist is obvious, but her saving other victims is kind of tactile metaphor for the goal of "speak up" to encourage and empower other women), and it's also a fun and cathartic film for audience to watch- the latter of which I think this film failed in.

Once again, the last thing I want to do is belittle you as a team or the ideas you're putting on the table, and the reason this review is so long is because I don't want you guys to think I'm saying it's bad and cringey and shouldn't have been made, I'm more trying to put across to you that the difference between film and Public Service Announcements and trending hashtags, is that you actually GET to be subtle, you GET to show and not tell, and people aren't supposed to inherently know your film's message. One of my favourite things about film is personal interpretation.

So for next year, by all means I encourage you to deal with the heaviest and darkest parts of life, but do so in a way that acts as a film first instead of a commercial.

As for your title, "Speak Up" certainly works, but it still falls into that cheesiness- though had it been a pulpy horror film or a revenge flick, this would have been a great title.