A short from Ron DeCaro.
Ron DeCaro is a moviemaker who knows what he wants, and what he wants is bloody, bloody gore. When it comes to his films, it would seem that he has a pretty good handle on the effects aspect of the movie business. What I would love to see is what he could do with a bigger budget, which essentially would be ANY budget, with which to play with. I’d also like to see him direct someone else’s story, because it feels like if he has a weakness, it is depth of plot and characters (although this was done better in Eating Razors, his 2005 short, in which the acting was more problematic than the story). This is certainly the case with The White Lie, his 2006 short film (and by short, we’re talking barely eleven minutes here).
This movie is about a guy, Tyler (played by Drew Snelson), who is into drugs and owes someone money. He tells his girlfriend/wife, Carly (Turibia Fradoca), that it is just a small amount, maybe a hundred dollars, not a big deal, but she isn’t happy about the situation and they argue. It turns out that the person he owes the money is taking it way more seriously than Tyler is, and sends someone to collect. When the collector (named in the credits as “Death Dealer,” and played by D. Whitney) arrives and finds out there is no money to collect, he takes his payment in other, more brutal ways.
Eleven minutes doesn’t give much time to develop a character, much less three characters, so luckily DeCaro didn’t try to cram too much into The White Lie. Eleven minutes also doesn’t give us much time to develop a story beyond a main idea and a scene or two, which brings us to one of the problems here. There isn’t much to this short film, and we don’t develop any kind of sympathy for anyone on screen, so it’d be easy to write this off as simply a plotless collection of death scenes. The case isn’t helped any by the stiff acting.
What DeCaro does do well is go all out when it comes to brutality, and I think the excessive violence is probably the strong point of this short film. The Death Dealer is a brutal human being with complete disregard for human life…ANY human life. He essentially says that he doesn’t care if Tyler can come up with the money, it’s more the principle of the matter that is causing him to bring harm to this young family. There is a lot of bloodshed in these eleven minutes, some of it a little more shocking than you might expect (which is why I’m try to be vague here and not spoil it completely).
When all is said and done, I’m split on whether I want to recommend The White Lie. The story is plain, definitely nothing new to even your average horror fan, and the acting is pretty bad throughout. At the same time, the effects work is pretty good and shows a ton of potential, as I mentioned, for what might be accomplished with a bigger budget. And really, it’s only eleven minutes. You could watch it during a smoke break at work and still have a few minutes left over. You could watch it during halftime of a football game and not miss a single play. I guess what I’m saying is just give it a chance, see what DeCaro’s got to offer, and even if you absolutely hate it, which I don’t think you will, you still barely wasted any time at all.