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Monday, June 1, 2015

Big Hits In Dammie Akinmola's Violent Revenge Thriller "Board to Death"

"BOARD TO DEATH" (2015)
Genre: Thriller (Revenge)
Length- 16:31
Company: Broken Lens Productions
Website:  Official

A maniac (Joshua Esposito) is pushed over the edge by the adultery of his wife (Victoria Ashford).  She begins to give him clues about who she's slept with, and he sets about the dirty business of taking revenge . . .

. . . on all of them.

SET PIECES

"Board to Death" is a nasty little revenge picture directed by up and coming filmmaker Dammie Akinmola.  Make no mistake, this short film is aggressively violent and well produced.  The brutality on display is extremely well choreographed, effective, and bloody at times.

I liked the black and white presentation -- it resembled that of a classic film noir, with Ashford's makeup and dress made in that style as well.  Clever usage of the camera by Akinmola and writer/cinematographer Kazi Zaman kept the story visually appealing.

That being said, the core concept of the film doesn't make any sense.  If he's mad enough to kill seven men, then why wouldn't the first and only target of his violence be the woman who he hates enough to call "a demon . . . a succubus"?  Why would he allow himself to be drawn into this game to begin with?

It's harder still to accept the premise because every character in "Board to Death" is not only reprehensible but unlikeable.  There is little charisma, and fewer lines of dialogue.  The bulk of the film's sound is Esposito ranting and raving about infidelity, and that gets old very fast.

The film is so well made that you can forgive most of the shortcomings and just go with it, but I can't help but wonder what such a talented director and production crew could come up with if they had a more involving story to tell.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing:  3 / 5.  The script by Zaman wants to be an introspective take on infidelity and madness with a few religious overtones, but it comes off as a bit more of an exploitation story than anything else.  It's violent, it's nasty, that's what you're watching it for, and that's the point.  Fun side note: "Board to Death" was inspired by the story "Death by Scrabble" by Charlie Fish.
Directing:  4 / 5.  Akinmola melds the visual conventions of noir films with the violent revenge flicks of the '80s and '90s.  I much enjoyed his camera work which never got old and always hit with a punch.  Loved the panning kill shot in the confessional.
Editing: 4 / 5.  The editing, also taken care of by Zaman, was extremely well done.
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  The soundtrack compliments the nasty attitude of the film perfectly and was composed by Rika Muranaka and Akinmola.  Loved the violins in "In Her Cage".
Acting:  3 / 5.  Esposito is handsome and quite effective at being menacing, and one can believe that he'd fly into each violent rage as it comes.  As good as his physical performance was, his never ending monologue wore on me.  Ashford has little to do but stand or sit and look sexy, but she does what she can with the role.  Cristinel Hogas and in particular Carl Muircroft stood out well beyond their limited screen time.

Final Grade: 3.4 / 5.

Don't forget to check out the "Board to Death" creators' Facebook page and visit the official site here!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!