August 4th, 2017 - Review by Mark Schwab
In today's bizarro world, no question that journalism has taken a serious hit. With words like "fake news" and "clickbait", it's getting harder and harder to take a story seriously at face value. Especially when you add into the mix words like "online journalism" and "blogger". Writer/Director Fred Cavender takes this current milieu and turns it into a mystery/thriller with his 13-minute short film SOMETHING CRUNCHY.
Bess Davies stars as Robyn, a freelance online journalist who's having a spot of trouble with her current piece detailing the death of a activist via a hit-and-run. Robyn is trying to buck the trend of just throwing together something trashy and maintain some dignity but it isn't easy with her editor pushing her to deliver "something crunchy". So Robyn decides to dig a little deeper and ends up uncovering some unnerving circumstantial evidence pointing to murder instead of a tragic accident.
Cavneder has mounted a very solid production here with good cinematography (especially the exterior photography) and clean sound design. His plotting is also worthwhile as he takes the little mystery through its smooth paces nicely even though I did find the ending a bit predictable.
Where CRUNCHY has some issues is in the supporting characters. When Robyn is investigating the story and it's only her on-screen, the film crackles with tension. Davies' does a great job keeping us in suspense and getting us to care about her. But when she interacts with her cop/boyfriend/hookup/who knows, the dialogue gets awkward and forced. Same thing when she visits a previous victim's sister for background information - instead of unforced characterizations it lurches into preachy exposition.
I think this film could have easily zipped along with Bess Davies taking up 90% of the screen time. It's cinematic enough to where most of the dialogue could have been trimmed way down and the plot still could have come through.
As it is though, SOMETHING CRUNCHY is a decently entertaining little thriller that should hold your attention all the way through with a very good lead performance. It's worth checking out.
Check out more from Fred Cavender at his website.