Everyone Forgot (2022)
Dir. Theo Kai Marlow
by Ellis Reed
The end of August saw FrightFest return to London, where, as always, the ‘FrightFest-ivities’ included a series of short film showcases.
These are always a treat. Rather than playing before features as cinematic entrées, the chosen shorts are bundled together and served up as feature-length smorgasbords – like anthologies without the wraparounds.
I couldn’t attend the festival this time, but I did have the pleasure of seeing a review copy of Everyone Forgot (UK, Theo Kai Marlow, 2022), which made its world première as part of Short Film Showcase 2. In this eighteen minute short, ‘everyone forgets’ to wish Lily (Anwen Bull) a happy birthday. She continually checks her social media and drops some less-than-subtle hints on the phone, but to no avail. Disappointed but undefeated, she gets herself a cake and pays a handyman (James Knapp) to come to the house, sing her happy birthday, and generally keep her company on her special day.
Initially bewildered, the handyman becomes curious and then – thanks to some beers and a bit of dancing – starts to enjoy himself. The tone of the film is light enough to make you wonder how and why it’s a horror, and what kind of horror it will be, since the setup feels more like a ‘meet-cute’ than anything else. That said, the film is cleverly directed, and some of the more touching moments are tinged with a dreamlike quality that borders on the sinister. The result is a tasty slice of cinematic birthday cake, where the sponge is sweet but the jam is dark and tangy.
In terms of production, Everyone Forgot is a single-location short with just two actors shown on screen. Fortunately, Bull and Knapp give a pair of very appealing performances, drawing us in and making us care what happens next. As well as dialogue between the two characters, Marlow uses slow motion, montage and voiceover to tell his story in a concise and creative way.
All in all, Everyone Forgot is a nicely-made film with flashes of dark humour, so look for it at festivals and check out the trailer below.