Have Cheetah,Will Review / movie reviews / writing

Have Cheetah,Will Review #23 – “Interview with the Dead”

It’s 6:45 pm

Back when I booked local bands in San Jose,there were two shows I always wanted in regards to my booking…I wanted a band’s first show and also any CD/Record release party.
Watching a debut of a new band was always a treat,I used to stand at the side of the stage and listen while they loaded in and sound-checked.
You could feel the nerves,the energy,excitement of the artists as they went through the paces. I listened and watched the interaction between the members,looked at how they dress,how they handled their gear and afterwards with how they dealt with their friends and the general public.
You could tell if the band had “legs” that really wanted to elevate their sound or were just a band that sell a 7 inch record,play for 4-6 months and break up.

I have kept that approach when I review films on here. Now I know I don’t review enough to warrant any kind of authority of making films and quite honestly,I am NOT a critic nor do would I ever pretend to be. A critic to me is someone who has actually performed in the medium they are discussing. I, on the other hand ,just like finding new talent (new to me) and sharing it.

I have known Tim Teets for a while now,he did a “8 Questions with …..” interview for my blog. I found him talking about having a dream of being a filmmaker quite refreshing. We have stayed in touch as he slowly developed his first project.
Finally after all the hard work,Tim’s o73 Films has released “Interview With The Dead”, a short film featuring a journalist interviewing a zombie.

The zombie genre has been pounded dry,right? What original ideas are left? Sometimes a movie will come out of nowhere,like “Warm Bodies”,that will have a fresh idea and catch our attention.
The premise of “Interview” is extremely interesting. To sit down and conduct a interview with a zombie with all of his humanity intact is a cool idea and one I haven’t seen before.
The film opens in a hotel room where journalist Eli is interviewing Seth Devlin,a dedicated family man who also happens to be one of the undead.
Eli gets Seth to talk about his life before he was changed and how it has affected him. Eli also introduces various watchers of his show to ask questions as well. Questions like “How have you adjusted to your new diet”? and “Do you still have a love life with your wife”?
Seth is doing the interview as a way to raise awareness that just because he and his fellow undead are zombies doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. Seth is very earnest and open about his life and just wants acceptance.

So did we like this debut from o73 Films?

I like the premise to a certain degree. To have a coherent zombie able to communicate would work better if he only had a very small time to express him/herself. Having Seth carry on a normal discussion only makes it seem that it he is a guy with make up on. The whole point of being a zombie is your DEAD!! No heartbeat,no normal brain activity,just enough left for instinct to propel you.
If Seth only had a hour before his humanity was lost and he was sharing what he was undergoing,this would have packed a far bigger punch in my opinion.

And while David Franklin Smith does a great job as Seth,the rest of the cast is quite frankly,just awful. There isn’t a single actor in the bunch that came close to Smith.
I know it is a first film but Teets has to act like he has been here before and pay much more attention to casting. It is better to wait to find a proper cast then rush forward and grabbing just anyone. Smith took the material seriously and I think with better and more experienced actors,”Interview” would have sparkled.
I know this was very low budget and while I can respect that and do,having absolutely zero set design really hurts. Sitting in a hotel room with your actors in regular street clothes makes the viewer feel like they are watching a dry run rehearsal instead of a film.
Just adding a curtain over the air conditioner and placing your cast in proper wardrobe would help as well.


What I would love is after Teets gains more experience and confidence in his abilities is for him to revisit this film. I think his story is excellent and I would love to see it again with a good cast…and he has to keep Smith as Seth!
Teets has a promising future in this business and I fully expect his next project to show us what he was learned in directing. We can’t wait to see what o73 Films puts out next!











4 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will Review #23 – “Interview with the Dead”

  1. Hello fellow wordpress blogger. šŸ™‚ I have to admit that the ‘zombie bites’ picture is making me feel slightly sick. It is so realistic! It’s a shame that you’re not keen on the cast. I’m a big believer that a cast can make or break a film or stage production!

    • I liked the actor playing the zombie quite a bit. The rest of the cast just doesn’t have enough experience or didn’t take the material to heart. I am hoping o73 Films will come back and redo this story…..

  2. I watched a portion of the 18 minute interview on You Tube (interested because, first, I do read certain of the zombie lit and second, because Elmira is about an hour from where I live.) The premise was interesting ( having the plague create zombies of different undead levels – some of them almost human). The interview was interesting for about 5 minutes. This could have gone somewhere good with more experienced filmmakers and script writers, I think. (One change I would have made, just for starters, is not having the undead person speaking normally. )

    • Totally agree Alana….I was thinking Seth should have spoken like Charlie Gordon wrote in “Flowers for Algernon”. Strong at first and slowly fading during the interview….

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