Sunday, August 10, 2008


Short films, I've come to discover, are a dicey prospect. Not counting amateur or student productions (which seem to rarely be worth watching by anyone outside the movie itself), it's hard to find a short that works the same as a well-crafted short story. Most shorts are adequately made on a technical level, but severely lack in solid storytelling. Director Duncan Bowles's 2006 film WORKING LATE is a good example of this trend.

Two low-rung corporate types are stuck overnight in their office to prepare for an important presentation. As if they weren't under enough pressure, yet another zombie outbreak has turned the city into a madhouse, and these guys will be lucky to get out with their lives, let alone their jobs.

While it's competently filmed, WORKING LATE is woefully thin in the plot department; there certainly isn't twenty-eight minutes' worth of story to be found as one of the workers is bitten and disappears into the building as the other searches for/hides from him. There's plenty of opportunity for "corporate drones as the walking dead" metaphor, yet Bowles keeps this strictly an office-bound NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD; even with such an unimaginative throughline WORKING LATE drags as slowly as the undead it features. Maybe if the surviving worker didn't cower in the break room and listen to the radio every three minutes the story might not've been boring and suspense-free.

Bowles assembles an impressive zombie army for the ending, but fades to black before giving them anything to do. It's frustrating, because even with a bare-bones scenario like this one Bowles could've made something really fun instead of executing a perfect anti-climax.

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