mediocre reviews

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Hands down the best script in Dunedin this year. So much good dialogue backed up by solid acting from the children. Great cinematography as well, especially the inventive high angle shot within the house. The ending was rather predictable and either needed slightly less heavy handed foreshadowing or something extra to elevate it further. I'm not saying we wanted Mum to eat the rat, but some of us probably wanted Mum to eat the rat. A lot a nice little details throughout, altogether another outstanding effort from Studio Giblets.

An irreverent 4th wall breaking take on the apocalypse with villains straight out of Doctor Who. I love the line about drama student's egos, especially because presumably this film was made by drama students. Well acted, though I had trouble understanding what the mannequins were saying with the heavy effects on their voices. Great foley for the explosions though, and apparently a casual "nah mate" is an appropriate response to the threat of death. Very kiwi.

A fun filled case of mistaken identity with a modern twist. Very reminiscent of 2010's Peter Jackson Wildcard THE POOL, in some ways what is most interesting is what has changed in just eight years. This well shot crime caper opens with some impressively rotoscoped titles, which raised my expectations beyond what is realistic for 48 hours. The rest of the graphics in the film have more of the usual rushed charm that we're used to seeing. After a stellar performance from Terry and few funny gags, the plot wraps up rather predictably. Great to see a blooper reel during the credits crawl, always nice when people have fun making these films. A well earned 5 star rating.

A lot of people in the late 90s loved the IBM ThinkPad, but this man loved it more than most. An anti-RomCom with a few great gags and excellent cinematography. A lot of story beats packed into 5 minutes, but thanks to some decent pacing it doesn't feel rushed. A minor thing that bothered me is how the screen graphics didn't track to the laptop when it moved, but that's normal for 48 hours. An altogether enjoyable tale about the unintended consequences of bit conservation.

A slick production from a well oiled team. The elegant title animation was a great way of summarizing the plot using two emojis, but unfortunately we never got much more depth as it played out. The premise is decent, but I would have loved to see more exploration of why social media turns us into monsters, and fewer gags lifted verbatim from What We Do in the Shadows. The tone also shifts wildly between the acts, to the point where it feels like three different films. Overall an entertaining film that sets a high bar and doesn't quite reach it. I look forward to seeing what this talented team does next.

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.

I love voluntary musicals, and this team chose to combine not one but two extra genres into their heist school musical. A clever though obvious in retrospect wee heist is played out through songs and set pieces that had me wondering whether I was watching a musical about a heist or a high school movie about a musical about a heist. A very meta and enjoyable tale from the noodly appendages of a team who clearly like a challenge.

An innovative interpretation of Ultra. Good clean voice over, and well shot motivated use of shadows to describe the heist. Remembering that 5 minutes is a limit and not a target, a tighter edit would have made this film punchier and give us less time to think about the plot holes. Some decent natural light cinematography in the lounge, but the bathroom plumber scenes could use more light and a white balance. These scenes are some of the funniest though, so overall a decent effort. I hope the kids are OK!

A grim tale of star crossed lovers. One of those films where you think you know where it's going and you hope you're wrong. Shakey camera and shallow depth of field are often overused, but here they work well to help tell the story. Quite a change in tone if you're expecting "The Shirt: 3", so kudos to this team for taking some risks.

Ultra Duo done right. I don't think I've seen a Mad Scientist film before, so this film was quite a ride. A great example of those rare gems of weird 48 hour films that don't take themselves too seriously. The ambitious concept drew me in despite the bad sound and variable visual effects. The payoff was clever, and I think even Davros would be envious of those Gatling gun chairs. Next year's compulsory prop for sure.

A cute little were-rom-com with some excellent character animation, which is no easy feat in 48 hours. I love how this team combines live action with animation, so the team intro and cardboard sets were quite a treat. I would have liked to see that aesthetic carried through to the backgrounds for final scene, which felt a bit rushed in comparison. With a solid story and a tonne of animation it's fair to say time was spent where it needed to be. A howling good take on the splat-stick genre, this film has real bite.

This is the future Jeff Bezos wants. A disturbingly current lo-fi sci-fi animation that completely derails by the third act. I get the low production value aesthetic works well visually, but sound wise it gets tired quickly. A little more wub and a little less repetition would have the soundtrack dubstepping away from the cringe zone it currently occupies. Worth a watch if you're a fan of Don Hertzfeldt and MS Paint.

Some slick editing and frenetic camera work made this monster horror stand out more than any of the jump scares. I really liked how the middle of this film was put together, so it was anticlimactic when the ending was a repeat of the beginning. Telling a story out of sequence is great when it helps to tell the story, but here it just left me wanting more. That said, at least we good another look at the excellent physical effects. I bet Big Dog Films had sausages for dinner.

A cautionary tale about the power of wishes. Not based on an original gag, but a decently executed concept nonetheless. The idea is played for some good laughs until the final chilling scene where we see the real consequences of the wish. A great comedic performance from the lead actor made for some memorable moments and certainly helped win audience favourite for this film.

Tony and Tonya have some issues to work through. A shame this charming little anti rom com was late, the film had me wishing the characters all the best by the end. Some funny gags at the expense of Air BnB, and a great supporting performance from Heidi. She seems like she's up to something and I'd like to know more!

A fun but predictable ice heist. The final payoff delivered on this prediction, my only criticism is the small twist at the end cut away too quickly to have the impact it deserved. One of the more professional looking films of the evening, with some excellent locations and a real sense of the genre.

A nicely shot and edited little time travel tale. A quick and punchy set up draws the viewer in. Once the compulsory landing in a puddle gag is out of the way, we begin to see the protagonist's quick thinking in overcoming obstacles on his journey. Unfortunately the payoff feels rushed as his entire journey consists of crossing a road. A good earnest film that would be a great film with a little more story.

If you want to feel old, this film will remind you just how much has changed since The Blair Witch Project came out in 1999. Bringing the found footage genre back from the dead, this modern update is full of references to youtube, social media, and taking risks "for the views". Once this new framing story was set up, the Jobless Baboons succeeded in creating a fairly formulaic horror. I do wonder if the haunted house would have had quite so many slamming doors if it wasn't a compulsory element.

It seems a lot of films this year opted for the literal fish out of water angle, but beyond the obvious gag this film is fairly original. Opening in a mockumentary style, the vocal performance of the unseen filmmaker lends an genuine air to the otherwise absurd subject. After a brief ritual with a fish and a puddle, the real highlight of the film is an extended chase montage. Benny hill would be proud.

Once again Super Furious Ninja Dragon from Invercargil show Dunedin how it's done. Easily the strongest film of the heat, with some excellent animation cut seamlessly into live action office politics. From a narrative perspective it left me wondering what had actually happened during the animated segments, but perhaps leaving that up to the viewer makes for a more visceral spatstick experience. A very original take on the genre.

A classic alternate reality fantasy tale told as a twist on the wish genre. The story was simple enough to follow even though I couldn't understand a lot of the dialogue. To be fair, they did hang a lantern on their wildly alternating accents, but some better sound would go a long way. The costumes and props were great, but this film really came into its own with their ambitious use of visual effects. Very well done for pulling off something most experienced teams shy away from, I look forward to seeing what this young team can do with another year of experience.

What a ride! I feel like watching this one before going back and watching the original is a great way to get into the mental state of the protagonist, minus the misogyny.

Animation in 48 hours is crazy difficult, especially when you've got 4 minutes of monologue to fill, but a bit more movement/parallax in some of the shots would go a long way towards feeling less like a slide show. That said, the visual style was innovative, and with some clever integration of 2014's compulsory line, it totally nailed the spirit of ultra 48.

After re-watching the first film, the plot also became much more clear. Lots of clever references tie the two together. Great to see the same formula taken in a different direction, and the final punchline definitely delivered!

I love how this team mixes live action with animation, and this year is no exception with some awesome creepy retro graphics. The initial smash cut was jarring in just the right way, but the character's transition from virtual to real required a large dose of suspension of disbelief. Overall great to see genuine comedic moments blended with a solid black mirror esque vibe.

Great to see this in the screening room with fixed audio. I remember seeing operator in the heats many years ago, and it always stood out as one of my favourite Team Spielberg films, so I was excited for the sequel. Didn't quite capture the same tension as the original, but certainly had some good moments. Putting the operator on the phone was a nice play on the word, but I would have liked to see more use of the void outside the door that made the first one so interesting. Perhaps if the void consumed the bathroom after Bobby's reveal, it would feel more dynamic and claustrophobic. As other reviewers have said, a bit more creativity in the blocking would go a long way. Certainly limiting in a hotel room, but we know you can pull it off in an elevator!

Loved the production value and retro aesthetic to this film. Great use of props, and an intriguing off-kilter concept were unfortunately let down by a weak ending. I really wanted to see where this film was going, but it felt a bit like they ran out of time.

This film had some amazing visual gags inspired by z-grade special effects, some of the best laughs of the evening. It's a hard balancing act to do a faithful z-grade recreation without falling into the trap of making the film painful to watch. Some of the shots went on slightly too long, going from funny to awkward, but overall a solid effort with brilliant gags.

Very funny cops and robbers film with some brilliant puns and a couple of twists. Like the comedy of errors from heat one, the comedy here sometimes seemed a bit forced. Trust your instincts and don't try to force a gag or error into every line of dialogue just because the of the genre. An enjoyable caper nonetheless.

Wow, great tension, nice grade and an amazing young cast. I think we all knew something sinister was up from the beginning, but the payoff still had the intended impact. Good attention to detail with the set dressing and costumes too, an all round fantastic effort.

Some of the biggest laughs of the evening in this bro quest film. Plenty of twists and turns with the best use of chickpeas I've seen in a long time. Could use some higher production values to complement the comedy values. Will be watching out for this team next year.

Expertly shot and edited wee film within a film about time travel. Fantastic location, prop design and explosions! This film drew me in from the beginning, but unfortunately ended just as things were getting interesting. With a stronger ending this would be a top contender for sure. Still well worth watching, very enjoyable.

Some genuinely funny punk moments in this punk film by a young team whose parents were probably slightly too young for the peak of punk. What a curve ball of a genre! My only complaint is that the curve ball turned into a beer pong ball. It felt like this team really wanted to make a beer pong film all along, and didn't really come up with a good way to justify it as a punk "sport". Still, they fought the establishment, made the movie they wanted to make, and we all had a laugh.

Mukpuddy doesn't disappoint with another punchy animation that looks like it should've taken way longer than 48 hours. Morgan Foster was just adorable, and definitely a top pick for best use of character. Great to hear the range of accents expanding too, not sure how many regional British accents we could really expect to hear in an American gas station.

My only complaint is that the totally dark scene went on too long and just seemed like a way of avoiding some time-consuming animation. Perhaps if the character's eyes were still visible during some (not all) of it, then it wouldn't have detracted so much from an otherwise well polished film. Fingers crossed for these guys making the finals.

I went to this heat especially to see MITCIT, and when the title card said "musical" I knew we were in for a treat. All the regular over-the-top zaniness combined with some very enthusiastic dancing from one particular cast member made for another enjoyable cult film.

MITCIT did a very funny Kim Dotcom spoof a couple of years ago, and this year they weren't afraid to get political again. Let's just say the real identity of Morgan Foster is obvious to us all. Massive cheers from the audience show the majority were on board with their caricature of current affairs. Either that or they really like off-key singing.

My only complaint is that there wasn't any signature MITCIT greenscreen or CG work. Maybe next year?

The second half of an innovative double feature with Guerrilla Gorilla. Always great to see teams trying something new for 48 hours, so congratulations for agreeing to give it a go and also pulling it off!

The opening was so similar to the first film that it left us feeling like a mistake had been made. At the time, different details in the edit slowly gave away that this was a new film within the same plot. Though I've heard it was actually shot with a completely different crew, this wasn't immediately obvious. If intentional, it's a great way to mess with the minds of the unsuspecting viewers. If the openings were meant to immediately get viewers on board with the concept, then it needed more work to achieve that. Let's hope they were going for mind-bending similarity.

The technical aspects of getting this done must've been a nightmare, and while I said the first film felt a bit rushed, by now the audience know what's going on and is willing to forgive the lack of polish and enjoy the unique experience. The benefit of screening 2nd, combined with some cold blooded scenes from both the protagonist and the villain made a nice rounded product.

Kudos for trying something new, it certainly made for an enjoyable start to the evening.

The first half of an innovative double feature with Half Shell. Always great to see teams trying something new for 48 hours, and I believe Guerilla Gorilla were the instigators of this mad plot, so congratulations for pulling it off!

Story wise, it was a bit tricky to follow. Time travel in a fantasy movie seemed out of place (until you realise the 2nd team drew time travel!) and could've been worked in a bit more smoothly. The technical aspects of getting this done must've been a nightmare, which is probably why as a standalone film everything felt a bit rushed.

Some enjoyable moments between the villain and the hero. He seemed a lot less cold-blooded than Half Shell's version.

I hope this team thinks of an even crazier way to bend our minds next year. Never stop pushing the boundaries.

A tight script that plays on all the tropes of the horror genre, zombieland style. As if you couldn't tell that from the title. Some genuinely funny gags in this one, and surprisingly high brow for an all male cast.

Technically, there's a lot of room for improvement. Fuzzy evenly lit indoor shots make for dull viewing. Looks like the guys had a lot of fun, and with a bit of production value they could be a farce to be reckoned with.

This isn't the first film where every character was played by the same actor, but it is the first time I did double takes at the two main characters together in the same shot. Through acting craft and post production wizardry, the two flatmates were believable enough to make all the hammy supporting characters forgivable. Inventive use of the CARD prop as well. While overall there was room for improvement, this film sets an impressive benchmark for the one man team.

A bizarre film about a hitman who has trouble sleeping. Probably one of the more inventive ways I've seen overlayed graphics and speech bubbles used get around the non-dialogue genre, including a cameo from what looked like the good night kiwi. The surprise ending certainly continued the strange nature of the film, though not quite in a satisfying way. A cautionary tale for all insomniacs.

A MITCIT film that makes sense? You guys are losing your touch! In all serious though, totally gutted to see the DQ next to this one at the end of the heat. A tight film that managed to pack all the usual MITCIT goofiness within a coherent storyline. Only thing that was missing was copious quantities of CGI. Will be rooting for a "best disqualified" award for this film for sure.

The Development is a hilariously irreverent non-linear fly-on-the-wall style documentation of what young Aucklanders think farmers do all day. At least I think it was. It was kind of hard to follow, but very enjoyable in all its absurdity. I feel like this film deserves some kind of award. Maybe best bad film, or maybe the aptly named MITCIT WTF award, given that unfortunately MITCIT are only in the running for best disqualified this year. Whatever it is, these guys should be encouraged.

I've been a fan of BattleSoup since their controversial biopic and bombastic bobby young quest film. This year they bring back more of the same, with over the top digital blood and a couple of dissatisfied henchmen. Not quite as slick as last year, and it would've been nice to see Tom feature with his usual comedic insanity, but the new cast did a great job too. If you love funny accents and ridiculous action sequences, then you too will fast become a fan of BattleSoup.

I might have to start buying a different detergent. Punchy converging storyline crime caper that hit all the right notes and didn't linger. Was worried half way through that it ran the risk of borrowing too much from Lock, Stock, but was pleasantly surprised by the sustained suspense followed by a fresh resolution. One to watch out for.

It's hard to fault this film without faulting the genre of horror itself, which is fast becoming a tired cliche in the world of 48 hours. Seldom do horror films make the finals, yet they do offer film-makers a chance to flex their more experimental talents, which is what this team did. With exquisite sound design, and the best low-budget (the cost of a ream of printer paper) asylum set I've seen in quite some time, The Somnambulist takes an atmospheric journey through the nature of insomnia and insanity. Also slenderman shows up.

A techno thriller that both borrows on the tropes of actual techno thrillers and is also just a thriller about techno music. Lo-fi production values with over the top characters and a killer bassline had me in stitches all the way through. Easily a contender for best cult film, just a shame the ending track wasn't as awesome as the bad guy's webcam.

Very strong opening, brilliant characters, totally derailed by the third act. If they were being ironic then they totally nailed the hollywood superhero formula.

A good effort but would have loved to see it go somewhere deeper. Is that too much to ask of a 48 hours short? Probably.

It seems a lot of young teams were inspired by inception this year, but at least this one made some vague sense. The flashback scenes were the high point of the film, and as other reviewers have noted, the stair fall was jaw-dropping. Hope they knew what they were doing.

A dazzling array of accents, fake locations, and reality television spoof. Good production values, writing and acting. A pleasure to watch. Was left wondering what happened to the identity theft character though.

A slightly new take on the whole found footage angle. Seems everyone has to hang a lantern on it by mentioning blair witch these days.

Some of the dialogue was very funny, but it was let down by a less well written shoehorning of ex-bully into the ending. Still quite watchable though.

Who doesn't walk around with a piece of bent wire up their nose? Pretty good effort, with a nice combination of serious and funny. Stunning special effects makeup work on the corpse. Where are all these teams finding realistic dead bodies this year?

This horror managed to hit all the tropes without feeling dull or predictable. Quite an acheivement for a genre that often produces some rather forgettable 48hour films. The creepy guy was excellently cast, and the sound effects rather good.

Possibly the least PC film we'll see this year, though if the first three heats are anthing to go by, there'll be some close contenders. This musical had everyone in stiches. It may have wavered a bit towards the end, but still easily the best short of the evening.

I'm pretty sure most people thought of the bent wire gag last friday, few had the bald faced cheek to actually run with it. It seems there's a reason this team got its name.

Quirky little superhero gem with touches of Stephen Merchant/Ricky Gervais awkwardness. Nice to see the serious subjects of euthanasia and arson tackled in a comedic way.

Also nicely shot, and good effort on costuming and makeup. Always love to see black makeup around the eyes under a black superhero mask, anything less is not trying hard enough.

This film came up a few times in discussions afterwards about films that are so bad they're good. I mean that in a good way.

The crazy guy with the informative gestures was pretty funny, and clued the audience in to the whole body switch thing very well. Low production values and clunky scripting only added to the film's charm.

I may be a sucker for anticlimax endings, but a body switch film where it ends with them deciding not to bother trying to switch back seems pretty fresh to me.

Probably the funniest film of the first heat. A shame the audio was a little on the quiet side, a fair bit of dialogue was drowned out by laughter. Can't complain too much though. At least we were laughing.

Thankfully didn't see any, but the naked guy clearly has balls for being naked in front of so many people for pretty much the entire film. Would love to know how many kiwi film puns they came up with before settling for "an anal at my table".

Favourite film from the 1st heat. Slick production values, nice juxstaposition of light music and scenery with darker plot content. Not exactly a road movie, but original enough for it not to matter. Great to see some kids who can act!

Brilliant team logo featuring actual toes and actual jam. A mildly pretentious but pretty slick production. Don't want to give too much away, but everyone got a great laugh from a certain vegetable based cameo. The horror ending was a tad tacky but kept fresh enough with a little twist.

The high-definition scenery was breathtakingly good, a really great way to start the first heat in the first year HD has been an option. If only all the shorts were this pleasing to look at.