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Monday, December 14, 2015

Anxiety and Bulimia Plus College = "Never Been Sicker", A Thinker's Short Dramedy

"NEVER BEEN SICKER" (2015)
Genre: Dramedy
Length- 14:59
Company:  Collusive Dreamer Films

Zoey (Morgan Vasquez) suffers from a phobia of vomiting -- an unfortunate condition considering she's a college student tolerating the indignities of dorm room life.  To make matters worse, her new roommate, Ellie (Paige Sciarrillo), is bulimic.

Talk about a nightmare scenario, right?  Well, Zoey's a smart girl, and she figures out there's one way to solve the problem once and for all: get Ellie kicked out of the dorm as fast as humanly possible.

SLIGHTLY ASKEW

"Never Been Sicker" is unique in a few different ways.  First of all, writer/director Claire Fishman's script is direct and suitably off kilter.  It's about bulimia and severe anxiety -- both topics which we don't see dealt with on the screen very often.  In addition, it attempts to treat gross out scenes with a light comedy touch.

Visually, Fishman has a good sense of camera movement and thanks no doubt in no small part to colorist Monika Kolodziej, the film has a vibrant, cinematic look.  There's a definite rhythm the film attempts to establish, but with the exception of the beginning and the ending, the film's never funny or emotionally affecting enough to quite hit the beats.

FEELING BETTER

All very unique, but does it pay off?  Well, that's going to depend on the individual viewer, I suspect.  For my own part, there's an awful lot of vomiting going on in this short film.  While we don't see it directly, we hear it.  It's not particularly riveting to see heads bobbing over toilets, but hearing the resulting product is stomach churning.

There's intelligence to this film that keeps it afloat, though.  I particularly liked the irony of the finale (to say more would be a spoiler, but you'll understand when you see it).  That's just good writing, right there.  

"Never Been Sicker" has a lot of potential, and it measures up in some ways and falls short in others.  One thing is for sure, though: Fishman and her company are all talented filmmakers and I eagerly look forward to what they have in store for us next.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3.5 / 5.  Original, with an ironic conclusion that brings everything full circle.  My only complaints are that the film did drag a little in the middle and that the jokes felt like they should have been more funny.
Directing: 3 / 5.  Fishman clearly knows what she's doing behind the camera.  I particularly enjoyed the shots employed during the party scene.
Editing: 3 / 5.  Fishman also edited the film, which afforded her extra room to convey emotional content.  This was notable in the aforementioned party scene, during Zoey's calm-to-panic rollercoaster ride, which was shot perfectly.  Apart from that, it's a serviceable job.
Sound/Music: 3.5 / 5.  I much enjoyed the alt-tinged pop soundtrack.  It felt quirky and fun -- perfect for the tone "Never Been Sicker" was going for.
Acting: 3.5 / 5.  Good acting from both leads.  Jimmy Hooper, who played Zoey's ex-boyfriend Dylan, felt on and off though.

Final Grade:  3.3 / 5.

Don't forget to check out the trailer for "Never Been Sicker" below and follow the creators on Facebook!







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!