Psychic Murder

Rated: Not Rated

        Making it as an artist can be tough. Whether a writer, painter, singer, filmmaker or comedian, most who aspire to make it big never do. You need more than just talent to succeed in these lines of work-you need to be able to connect with your audience- but more than that, you need to somehow stand out from the crowd. Many try, but few succeed in these fields. It can be hard to prove you’re different when everyone around you is shouting “I’m different” too. You must weigh the risks and rewards carefully and only proceed if you truly believe you’ve got what it takes.

        The new short film by Brandon Block,
Psychic Murder, highlights this issue well. The summary says, “After a young comic finds his stride by joking about his birth defect - a three fingered hand - he finds himself targeted by a ruthless talent agent who will either make his career or destroy his life.” It’s a scenario that has played out across countless other films, but never quite like this.

        The beginning of the film is almost painful to watch. The main character Billy is on stage performing joke after joke, but all he hears in response are crickets.  The jokes themselves aren’t that bad, but they’re certainly not laughable. If you’ve ever seen this sort of thing happen in person, you begin to wonder what made this person get on stage to begin with. Who convinced them they were funny enough to do this for a living?

        Billy’s redemption comes when he realizes what sets him apart-his giant, three fingered hands. Once he starts to joke about them, the audience warms and he finishes the set with a bang. After Billy’s routine is when the plot twist happens and when the film gets interesting…

        After the performance Billy is approached by a talent agent who’d been watching. Of course the agent wants Billy to sign a contract, but Billy is apprehensive after the agent tells the story of another comedian he’d represented.

        Not having discussed
Psychic Murder with the filmmaker, I’m not sure if it was his intention or not, but I see the film as a warning of sorts. It serves as a reminder to be careful who you get mixed up with on your way up the career ladder, and asks that you keep in mind the real costs of your actions. It’s not clear whether Billy actually signs with the agent or not by the end, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the one droplet of success he’s had leads him to consider signing with this malevolent man to begin with.

        Psychic Murder
is a brilliantly done, disconcerting little film that will have you questioning the motives of anyone offering to help you get ahead in life. Brandon Block can be proud of his writing and directorial debut, and can be satisfied in the knowledge that by the end, people will look at “the deal of a lifetime” with far more skepticism than they had going in.

        Psychic Murder is not rated, was written and directed by Brandon Block, and stars Will Bernish, Timothy J. Cox and Tatiana Ford. It will screen during the August 17 edition of Leah’s Indie Film Series, so come on down to Portsmouth to see it! To find out more about Brandon Block and Psychic Murder click here:

  • Psychic Murder on IMDB
  • Brandon Block on IMDB
  • Timothy J. Cox on IMDB