When I’m Itching My Bird

Family Game Night Review

Family Game Night poster

I don’t have the busiest schedule during a typical week, but there are certain days that I have less time than others it seems. I try my best to keep up with the films that I am constantly acquiring for my collection, but it is virtually impossible to do so. On nights where I really don’t have time for a full-length feature, I count my lucky stars for short films! Tonight’s viewing pleasure belongs to Nick Ferwerda’s Family Game Night.

The Plot

Kelly invites a stranger over for her family’s game night. Little does her new friend Doug know, however, that he is about to participate in a game that he has never heard of, and one that he will never play again.

My Thoughts

I’ve never really thought about it before, but can you imagine how hard it must be to make an effective and efficient short film? A movie of any length needs to have a clear plot, characterization, and much more. While some filmmakers have a hard enough time accomplishing this with a full 90 minutes or more, independent director Nicholas Ferwerda was able to pull it off in just 12 short minutes.

Family Game Night features a very competent cast, one that is quite frankly a breath of fresh air. I have seen too many indie horror films lately in which the performances by one [or most] of the cast members is downright awful. Luckily, that is not the case here.

While some of the lines delivered by family patriarch, Mark, played by producer Mark Brombacher, were a little hammed up, it never once reached a level of unbearable cheesiness or irritation. It did, however, add a certain degree of charisma to a role that would have otherwise been that of another normal, every day dad.

All other actors involved also did a great job with their respective roles, making it very easy to believe that I was watching an ordinary American family (even though things like “game night” do seem like a lost art these days, but I digress).

The Verdict

Family Game Night is a fun take on the [not-so-average] all-American family. It features a talented cast, an entertaining script, impressive lighting and cinematography, and quite frankly, anything else you would want in a horror/comedy flick.

Director Ferwerda was able to accomplish in less than 15 minutes what a lot of filmmakers try their entire careers to do with 90+ minute feature films. It is no wonder that the film has scooped up several awards during its limited run on the festival circuit, playing at The Toronto International Short Film Festival, among other places. I would not be surprised one bit to hear that is continues to do so, as more more people feast their eyes on this one.

Family Game Night will be hitting more festivals as the year progresses, in hopes of securing a distribution deal. Be on the lookout for this project, as I’m sure that Ferwerda, Brombacher, and the rest of the Game Night crew will have no problems getting that distribution they are looking for.

I give Family Game Night 4 number 1 rules out of 5.


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