A thriller with a fantasy twist? Sure.

Mysterious groups protecting secrets? Yeah. Count me in.

The supernatural unknown surrounding death? Let’s fricken’ do this!

Vivienne Again has all this and more. Not much more, but that’s okay. As a short film in both the thriller and fantasy genres, it has little time to set up the story and even less time to expand upon the story. But Vivienne Again does something that I actually prefer in the genre. It doesn’t try to explain everything.

The movie provides you with glimpses into the world, allowing you to ponder the meanings and content of the film as well as the as the ramifications of the ending without feeling forced to explain every detail to the viewer. You may say, “But not explaining everything is bad. Haven’t you seen Lost?” Shut your butt, wisenheimer. We’ll talk about this when you’re not completely strung out on your own smug sense of self-satisfaction. Just watch the movie.

Vivienne Again follows Vivienne (Erin Fritch), an attendant at a funeral home, who happens to work on the day of the funeral of a young woman, Sophie (Christina Brucato). We see that Vivienne is more or less a normal young woman. She’s got her own little peculiarities as well as the quirks of being a funeral attendant (ie. conversing with dead bodies), but she definitely comes across as a person like you and me–working a job to make ends meet.

Prior to Sophie’s funeral, a man in grey (Jed, played by Scott William Winters) accosts Vivienne asking unusual questions about Sophie and what will happen to her body. Though strange, Vivienne puts aside the encounter and later focuses on her task of making Sophie presentable for the funeral.  However it is when Vivienne goes to leave the funeral home that things get interesting. Sophie, the dead girl … wakes up.

For me this is always a great moment. The moment when things stop being the way you believe them to be.  Many can’t suspend disbelief enough to enjoy this type of story, or demand that everything be explained.  But that’s the very thing that isn’t done in Vivienne Again. No one swoops in and immediately explains or attempts to explain Sophie’s sudden resurrection/reanimation with some long-winded diatribe. We only hear what Sophie experienced, and it succeeds at making the story that much more personal.

It is upon Sophie’s resurrection that Vivienne is pulled into the mystery, forced into action. The men in grey return and Sophie urges Vivienne to come with her.  The ending is very well done and sufficiently twisty enough that it will confound many viewers, but opens the world of the movie up to new and exciting possibilities while still providing a nice ending to the piece. It was cool.

Kim Garland is both the writer and director for Vivienne Again and is a graduate of Columbia University.  Kim is also a co-owner of City Kid Films, a co-founder of a screenwriting network featured in Script and Writer’s Digest and has worked in publishing at Random House. It seems like she’s got some serious experience, but it’s also clear that she knows both how to write and how to make her vision come to life on the screen.

I’d like to briefly mention Vivienne Again’s credited DP, Ian Choplick, who I feel did a wonderful job. Each scene reflects the tone of the movie impeccably and adds a sense of mystery and drama that was the films intent. The scene is which Vivienne turn out the lights in the funeral home especially piqued my interest, seeming at once simple yet remarkably eye-catching.

Left open to a sequel, or as I found out an episodic series, Vivienne Again gives the slightest hint of what’s to come and had me wanting more. While there are small traces of student-film-quality-type-things in the film, it is clear that the projects was handled with professionalism and care and the rest can easily be written off as stylistic choices and quirks of the genre.  I might have read into things too much. The bottom line is, the film was enjoyable and I’m definitely looking forward to more.

The film is scheduled for presentation in at least three film festivals in the next month (details below). If you happen to be in the area of the film festivals and would like to support this as well as other short films, ticket information can be found on the websites listed below.

FilmColumbia Festival (Chatham, NY)

October 19, 2012 – 3:00pm
Venue: Morris Memorial

Flyway Film Festival (Pepin, WI)

October 19, 2012 – 10:30pm
Venue: Lake Pepin Art & Design Center Gallery

Big Apple Film Festival (New York, NY)

November 17, 2012 – 1:15pm
Venue: Tribeca Cinemas (Tickets on sale 10/15)

About The Author

Long time fan of comic books, video games, and movies. Zander is often no where to be found because he's marathoning movies and tv shows or playing video games till all hours of the night as most disillusioned twenty-somethings are wont to do. Polar opposites are the game: action/comedies and dramas, FPS games and turn-based strategy, science fiction and historical fiction. Why pick one thing when there are so many good things?

One Response to Vivienne Again

  1. Thanks for the review! And an extra thanks for the shout-out to my DP, Ian Choplick. He really is amazing and without question gets a ton of credit for the look and feel of the film. Plus, he’s ridiculously fun to work with!