It’s not so much a job as a calling, an obligation which can’t be avoided, a task that needs to be done but which is unpleasant for all concerned, the only blessing that Charles has learned to be as kind as he can in the brief moments he has with each of those unfortunates he conducts to their final exit, the clock always ticking down towards his next appointment.
A name and a time is all he is given, and while sometimes he arrives early he can’t interfere even if he is tempted to do otherwise; there is a spree killer on the loose, the souls of his victims all asking the same of Charles before they pass over: who is going to make him pay? One soul overlooked, left behind – accidentally? does Death make mistakes? – she refuses to go quietly into the dark.
A short film directed by Elsa Levytsky from a script co-written by Richard Weems and Mick Lexington, Goodnight Death sees Dead Like Me‘s Callum Blue acting as the accomplice of Death, guided by a shadowy figure cloaked in smoke who hovers over his shoulder, Charles the handsome and comforting face who fronts for a thing terrible and frightening, forced to wait and listen as he hears the screams of the dying.
Understandably traumatised by her death, Sinister‘s Danielle Kotch is Jennifer, angry at Charles for leaving her behind in a house with three dead bodies, one of them hers, while Michael Schantz is the anonymous killer and Chris Samuels is Death, silent and enigmatic, an impressive presence despite his ethereal nature.
Goodnight Death elegantly shot and performed by the ensemble, the locations lit in funeral gloom and the frames composed of repeating images which dissolve into each other, hallways and doors, each of them unique for the passage of the individual and as significant as the timepieces whose ticking drives Charles onwards.
A tragedy of inevitability, of Jennifer’s strength in defiance, a contrast to Charles’ reluctant resignation, the debt he is repaying hinted at but undisclosed, despite the inescapable presence of Death, ever present and observing without becoming involved, there is hope that atonement might bring a second chance, even though the work is not as yet completed.
Goodnight Death is currently playing the festival circuit