Director: Staten Cousins Roe
Writer: Staten Cousins Roe
Cast: Poppy Roe, Katie Brayben, Christopher Gilling
Producers: Giles Alderson, Poppy Roe
Music: Laurence Love Greed
Cinematography: James Layton
Editor: Esther Gimenez
Cert: 15 (TBC)
Running time: 18mins
What’s the story: Minnie (Roe), the director of a euthanasia centre, must hit a target of ten “clients” in ten days or be closed by the Euthanasia Licensing Board.
What’s the verdict: 2019’s A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is a British psycho movie to savour, mixing mirth and murder in one delicious cocktail. The feature debut of Staten Cousins Roe, its darkly wry humour is also present in Roe’s award-winning 2013 short film, This Way Out.
A sketch from Chris Morris’s Jam set in the world of Children of Men provides an indication of what awaits…
Fans of ASKGTL will be happy to see that film’s two leads, Roe’s wife and producing partner Poppy Roe and Katie Brayben, head up the short. And again they are in a situation where for them to succeed, others must mortally fail.
Using a documentary format, this spins its vaguely sci-fi concept of legalised euthanasia into a satire on successful business management in a world of corporate greed and KPI-culture. Morals are preferably left at the door.
Although informed by an officious representative from the Euthanasia Licensing Board (Gilling) that the threatened closure of her assisted suicide facility is “nothing personal”, Minnie takes it very personally.
After all, as she flatly states to the film crew, “My mother had a saying; ‘You have to succeed in life or you might as well kill yourself.’ Which is, of course, absolutely true.”
From here, Minnie and her sad sack assistant Maude (Brayben) begin some outside-the-box thinking to drum up business. Which inexorably leads to some suicides being more enthusiastically assisted than others…
As in A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life, Roe displays a flair for hemlock humour, with generous pinches of LOLs added to a bitter subject matter.
This Way Out is also a textbook example in establishing an outlandish premise, packing it with character and incident, and seeding a fantastic punchline all within a lean run time.
Poppy Roe is tone-perfect as the briskly efficient Minnie, demonstrating the right degree of compassion to make clients take their medicine. Brayben is similarly strong as the dimwitted Maude, who nonetheless possesses hidden talents.
Pour a tall glass of lemonade and enjoy.
WATCH THE FULL SHORT FILM HERE…