Directed by Sean Meehan (who co-wrote the film with Daniel Bérubé) Mallas, MA is the Audience Choice Award winner of the 2013 Boston 48 Hour Film Project. The seven minute film is about a pair of con-artists who are playing ghost busters for the benefit of a small Maine town and inadvertently get busted.
The two use rigged equipment and intend to fleece the town by “falsely” investigating a haunting. Brian Higgins (Timothy J. Cox) and his ghost investigative partner Maria Snyder (Maria Natapov) show up at a location and pretend to go through the motions of finding evidence of hauntings.
At their first location, while fabricating ghostly evidence, they stumble across a young girl in a bright orange dress. The two decide to use the child to provide the proof needed to get Mallas, Ma to pay for their services. Maria cannot get the girl to understand what they need, but Brian develops an instant rapport with he child.
He and the “ghost” girl set up lots of different photographs to “sell” to the locals. Brian’s connection to the child is so complete that he does not notice the oddness behind the “scenes” that he and Maria set up with the girl in the orange dress.
Cox comes across very well as the “genius” who invents the equipment and then interacts so well with their unknown “ghost girl.” His partner Maria is the more cold hearted of the two, as evidenced by her inability to meld with the child.
The ghost busting pair rush to complete the needed photographic evidence for a local television show. Once the program starts, Brian has an attack of conscience…
Sean Meehan, whose short film Total Performance (his ninth picture as editor and eighth as director) proves here that there is no shortage to his story telling talents. Shot on (estimated) low/no budget of $5K and turned out in 48 hours, this festival favorite looks brilliant and is amusingly presented.
Higgins, slightly pompous and full of technical know-how that enables him to fleece the innocent and the completely disinterested , and disassociated, Snyder have obviously done this scam before and it is only the relationship that Higgins develops with the “girl” that changes his direction.
Cinematographer Rick Macomber makes each shot pay off with all the right hues and shadows for the film’s theme of “ghost buster” being busted by their own hubris and a surprise element they never intended to find.
The entire “TAPS” ripoff has a sort of community television feel, with public access channels made by the local denizens with focus on items from the mundane to the weird. Daniel Bérubé gives us two con artists who are dissimilar and despite being comfortable working as a team, do not, it seems, appear to like one another very much.
The fact that the male of the team easily connects with the girl they find hiding in the basement yet cannot really communicate with his partner speaks volumes about the dubious duo. Even though the film only runs a little over seven minutes, the story is told concisely enough that nothing is lost by the end.
Mallas, MA is another delightful example of the work done by Sean Meehan and Timothy J. Cox. Keep an eye out for this clever little film and prepare to be thoroughly entertained. While not as in-depth as Total Performance, this short film is just as much fun to watch and contains a pretty good message.
This is a 4.5 out of 5 star short film, it provides a great twist and splendid storyline and all put together in a 48 hour time period. Great stuff.