Written and directed by Theo Kai Marlow, it’s Lily’s birthday and nobody seems to care. Desperate for some form of recognition on her special day, Lily turns to a handyman service for company. Starring: Anwen Bull and James Knapp.
Any film fan knows the joy that comes from a film starting out normal enough and then heading in a weird direction, it’s always a fun experience. That’s what Theo Kai Marlow gives viewers with Everyone Forgot and it’s hugely satisfying to watch unfold. The way that this story progresses is perfect, the pacing is wonderfully smooth and has such a natural growth to it. It’s unexpected yet it gives you enough of a hint that all is not well, which creates such a maniacally optimistic tone, one that’s superbly capitalised on by Anwen Bull’s performance as Lily. That’s one of the great things about this short, the story even in its early stages walks an impressive line of creating such an intensely sad note but never becoming morose. It holds a wonderful levity, helped by some fantastic score work which is bubbly and hugely varied but always strikes the right chord to match whatever the scene calls for.
It brings through a superb amount of awkwardness which tips you off to a potentially twisted route and creates a captivating suspense. As well as the fact that it has a brilliant sense of humour, one that’s served well by the comic timings of Anwen Bull and James Knapp. The two of them have an unusual but instant connection, their chemistry is empathetic and wholesome. Then as the story progresses and their dynamic shifts, the change is overt yet subtle, it’s plain to see who has the upper hand but how they use it has a backhandedly polite air. The whole atmosphere it creates is surprisingly charming, the way that it packages the different themes to its story in this playful, light-hearted feel is extremely well done.
An element which certainly helps to secure all of that atmosphere, humour and suspense is the directorial style and editing (also by Marlow). They don’t fall into trying to surprise you, or emphasise the humour too much, they have an unexpectedly graceful nature. The framing work is very modern and clean, the editing is suave, it adds an accent to the story but never rushes anything. The filmmakers also have a satisfying eye for detail, there’s a few inclusions which have that slyly smart quality. You could miss them if you weren’t paying attention but when you do, it just pushes the film that little bit further. All of that lets the focus never quite veer away from Anwen Bull as Lily, and that was a great choice because Bull’s delivery of the dialogue and body language with this character is right on the money. It’s that classic veil of niceness, you never quite know what that polite exterior is hiding.
Everyone Forgot is funny, entertaining, cleverly written and has some delightful surprises in store. It progresses beautifully, the timing and pacing hit the nail on the head. It’s suspenseful but in a light and breezy way which makes it all the more charming. Anwen Bull and James Knapp make for a great duo and they’re hugely enjoyable to watch. It inexplicably takes something sad, mixes in a blend of optimism, politeness and empathy, then adds in a healthy tablespoon of twisted, which sounds as though it shouldn’t work, and creates a fantastic piece of comedy horror.