Director Trevor Ryan’s 14:13 minutes long Boomslang is an even-paced, sinisterly comedy of a serial killer and his ambitious venture into a new town. Ryan Vincent is Erik Boomslang, the charming protagonist who doesn’t take a minute to let you into his thoughts. As facinorous as they might be, his soothing voice makes them seem akin to a pleasant hum. Writer Allen Osborne’s short leaves little room for casual introductions of his characters. Instead what we get are episodic blobs of very entertaining characters thrown a bit too casually into a heady mix of comedy, thriller and crime.
Boomslang is new in town. And, it doesn’t take long for people to swarm him. In ‘Erik makes Paella’, Harriet (Rori Flynn) self-invites herself into his apartment. One might wonder with very little of him known, how could he possibly land himself with a date so quickly? But that’s the charm of Boomslang and Vincent plays him with an air of sophisticated ease. That serial-killers have never been known for anything more than their charm and personalities is a well-known fact. So, when Boomslang sits there reading a book or pretends to be listening to a woman or openly admitting to not, one finds it hard to smack him on his face. Flynn’s portrayal of an attractive, but worldly unwise Harriet is adorable. Trope as she is, as is every other character introduced, it’s the actor’s ability to not reduce them into a caricature that makes Boomslang a success.
Mostly shot indoors, from restaurants to salons and living rooms, Justin Schwan’s camera sways effortlessly between the characters. At times offering a shot from a distance, the camera focusing on Boomslang’s ragged breath or from dangerously close quarters, to his object of desire, the lensing is exacting. Meanwhile, the dialogues range from condescending to outright challenging, but never leaving the lines of witty repartees; Osborne’s writing and casting remain on point. What, however, affects the pacing of the film is the narrative. While Sean Puglisi’s editing keeps the film neatly bound under 15:00 minutes, the character introduction in episodic fashion results into a disconnected plotline leaving one wondering, especially towards the end of the true connection between the characters.
At ‘June’s House’ we are not only introduced to the very gregarious Mamma (June), played by the lovable Trisha Rae Stahl, Wang (Kevin Teh) and July (Gabriella Rivera), but also informed of Harriet’s disappearance. By now, Boomslang’s identity is well-established to us as the audience, but we are left wondering at these new characters and their point of connection with our lead. It’s a blessing in disguise that the actors are incredible. Each doing justice to his/her part, their hilarious dialogues only made funnier with their pointed delivery of the same. By ‘Erik Makes Shepherd’s Pie’ we are used to the drill. But, no one could have pulled off Ali better than Dominique Willingham. He is brilliant, convincing and thorough entertainment. Granted his character is a trope like the rest mentioned before, but his perfect comic timing, the ridiculous mannerisms and just his charming self makes the later introduction of Ali not only well-justified but also smart enough to keep the audiences engaged.
By ‘July’s Salon’ the music, character establishment and storyline are well-explored. What could possibly be more engaging besides an open-ended question then? Director Ryan picks a neat script, with characters well-etched out and dialogues that are definitely hilarious on paper, but even more so when well enacted; and he gives us a good short that draws laughter through and through. What could work more in favour, however, would be turning it into a series or a feature-length film.
Regardless of that, Boomslang is worth your time, despite its scattered storyline. If not for anything, the hair (Homer Schulte), make-up (Mina Abramovic) and wardrobe (Luke Funtecha) are entertaining enough as is Doris (Gayle Gaston) from the salon!
Watch Boomslang Short Film
Boomslang: A Perfect Ensemble For A Dark Comedy