“Couldn’t perform couples therapy to save my own life”
In a callback to broad horror humor of the 80s, like Gene Wilder’s wild ride Haunted Honeymoon, Tom Flynn joins in the fun with his short film Soulmates. Airing at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival to lighten the mood before a ghost tale feature, the movie relies on hammy performances to provide its laughs, utilizing a failed couples counselor who finds himself caught in a situation that needs him to get two lovers back together. Beginning with just one example in what appears to be a long line of divorces, we see how clueless Cameron Sawyer’s Barry is at his job, unsurprised to find out that his date for the evening was set via an online dating service; a date that will put his own life on the line.
Hoping to meet a sexy young lady, Barry is completely taken aback by the older woman with giant glasses who opens the door. Insistently calling him Jerry, Cynthia Dane’s performance as Claudina steals the entire show—so ecstatic with the man she lured in, her nefarious plans to reincarnate her dead boyfriend in Barry’s body is working like clockwork. Drugged and about to have a portal cut into the back of his head, Barry watches as Claudina and Shannon Lee Holmes’ Jimmy Vega begin to bicker and reveal the not-so-match-made-in-heaven relationship between them, even alluding to the fact he may have committed suicide to finally get away from her. So, in order to save his own life, Barry needs to dig deep and reconcile these two, hoping a compassionate disposition will prevent them from harming his innocent soul. Unfortunately they only have a two-hour window before the transfer becomes null; quick thinking is therefore needed.
Soulmates is very much a fun little romp that entertains in its over-the-top comedy and stereotypical characters. The acting is effective with Sawyer’s affable naivety, Dane’s pushy lover, and Holmes best Fonzie impression. It’s all shot cinematically, using good camera-work to manufacture horror-type suspense despite the blatant comic tone that takes the place of cheap scare tactics. And while it may be slight when all is said and done, with it’s obvious and somewhat implausible finale as far as time constraints go, the craftsmanship shows the kind of talent Flynn contains, hopefully only going to get better as more projects are completed.
Soulmates 6/10 | ★ ★ ½