Handle with Care from Thursday Shoots and creator Michael Mercadante is a short film that’s gathered up more than a few awards this year. Bite-sized, loads of fun, and a little creepy, it’s easy to see why.
First, this is a short. Handle with Care is a tidy nine minutes in length, so it takes nearly no time at all to watch. Shorts are their own thing, a separate category for movies that you’ve no doubt seen covered at any number of award shows. It was actually featured at a bunch of film festivals just a few weeks ago, including my hometown Queens Film Festival in New York. It took home the award for ‘best comedy short’ at that particular show.
I’ve never been into shorts, but now I’m thinking I’ve been missing out. Handle with Care could easily have been turned into a full length flick, and one that harkens back to horror/comedies like the classic Arachnophobia. Its compacted nature however, basically highlights all the big points of what might be in a longer movie. But you get all of that in under ten minutes. So you feel like you’ve seen a complete film in a minuscule amount of time.
And it’s tons of fun.
Handle with… uh-oh
Our story starts out with a house-sitter situation, but of course there’s a twist. James Best plays lead character James, who’s watching Rafael’s (actor Willy Appelman) home while he goes on a trip. The kicker is that Rafael’s house is a little more dangerous than your usual domicile.
That’s due to the fact that Rafael is a collector of deadly insects. Live, deadly insects, which he keeps in terrariums in what looks like his living room. Yeah, he’s a little off. That’s especially apparent when he starts speaking to all of them in his own insect language (that he made up).
Without major spoilers, this all builds to a moment where there’s an accident. And there just might be something ridiculously dangerous loose in the house. From that point, we see the rapidly deteriorating mental state of James as he tries to keep it together in the face of… well god-knows what.
This might sound like horror, and it kind of is, but it’s also funny. Best does a great job of falling to pieces and Appelman is terrifically funny as Rafael. He’s not in it throughout, but his scenes are pretty great, particularly the insect-talk.
The movie is also well-shot, with some great Alien-esque moments. There’s one scene in particular, that while it’s not a major one, made an impact for me. And I think it’s safe to say that the same would be true for pretty much anyone who regularly fears the idea of things skittering across the floor.
Heck, there’s even a full on movie monster moment, and it’s a really good one! Handle with Care crams a lot in its nine minutes, and does so to excellent effect. It’s not purely horror, it’s not purely comedy, and it’s got a great little twist at the end. I can without a doubt recommend it to just about anybody, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from the group.
Handle with Care
Format: Short film
Produced by: Thursday Shoots, Brian Pruzan
Directed by: Phillip Russell, Kevin Etherson, Tom A. Capps