Jim Rothman has produced, written, and directed four short films over the past six or seven years with his latest, Scythe, actually coming about almost by accident. Over an intensive three-day shooting schedule, Rothman and company filmed test footage in Altadena, CA to put together a proof-of-concept for a feature film, but the test footage was so satisfying that he cut it together into a short film that premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles International Short Film Festival and also played at the Cleveland International Film Festival on April 8th of this year.
The short can be watched in its entirety here.
Scythe (the short) is a nicely done piece of work with strong performances and a professional look that you might not expect from test footage. The film focuses on Amy (Andrea Muller), a high school student with some serious anxieties about her future. While she makes her way home after hanging with her friend Tracy (Zailee Madrigal), the news reports that serial killer Ronald Wade, known as the Grim Reaper Killer, has escaped prison and is on the loose in the area.
You can kind of guess where the film goes from there.
While the end of the short is a bit abrupt, I love the design of the Grim Reaper Killer and think he’s a worthy addition to the pantheon of homicidal maniacs on the loose in Slasher films.
Rothman does a great job building suspense, making great use of light and shadow, and the script provides a few chuckles as it subverts some traditional Slasher Film clichés. In fact, that’s really the guiding philosophy of the proposed feature film. The feature Scythe intends to be a psychological thriller without the clichés that have proliferated in the genre.
Having already raised $50,000 for the production, Rothman launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise another $50,000 and with only a couple of weeks to go, they’ve just hit the 25% mark. This is exactly the sort of project that we here at Psycho Drive-In want to see more of, so we thought we’d see if we could lend a hand. The perks look good and Rothman has successfully funded one other short this way. While this is a much larger attempt, I really hope to see a feature-length Scythe sometime this year or next (fingers crossed)!
If you love Slasher Films this just might be the movie you’ve been waiting for.