Watch now: Little Reaper

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Brother/Sister duo Peter and Aubrey Dukes are independent filmmakers who set up their company Dream Seekers Productions in order to showcase innovative and engaging films, aiming to sway away from the modern day afflictions of cinema and remind us how moving, challenging and breathtaking films can be when created simply with the viewer’s enjoyment in mind.

The pair have a penchant for fantasy and the macabre but digging deeper into the archives it becomes apparent that they venture into a diverse range of genres from horror to animation (Aubrey’s speciality); and that, above all else, it is a good story that characterises what they produce.

little reaperLow budget film makers face difficulties as scripts (especially those related to fantasy) often call for special FX, designs and costumes that are nigh on impossible to achieve with limited funds, however despite these barriers and time restraints that can hinder small productions Dream Seekers have consistently provided pieces that would fare well against any big budget operations and that is just one of the reasons why they are such an impressive organisation.

They first caught our eye earlier this year with short film ‘The Beast’, now they’re back with comedy horror ‘Little Reaper’ – a coming of age tale of teenage rebellion with a twist.

This unique, quirky short centres on the Grim Reaper’s surly teenage daughter (Athena Baumeister) as she is forced to undertake a day of reaping as punishment for her disregard of her father’s (a wonderfully made-up John Paul Ouvrier) authority. Little Reaper struggles with the responsibility that will one day be hers as all she really wants to do is fit in with the cool banshees, chat with her BFF and make her tentacled boyfriend attend prom, and as a result neglects her duty to the recently departed…. with dire consequences.

The premise is brilliantly simple, new and exciting, whilst the comedy angle keeps things fresh – taking on typical teenage preoccupations with mobile phones and parents perceived lack of ability to keep up to date, there is also an amusing twilight reference to get you chuckling.

This is Dukes’s first attempt at horredy and he has pulled it off with the finesse and style that we have come to expect from him. Shot entirely in black and white, ‘Little Reaper’ invokes nostalgia for bygone eras or horror whilst having an undoubtedly current feel and relatable content. Giona Ostinelli is back once again to provide the score which fits perfectly with the ambiance, and Baumeister gives a great performance as the oblivious teenage angel of death.

Charming, witty and just a little gory – ‘Little Reaper’ is another excellent production from Dream Seekers and, as always, we look forward to seeing what they come up with next. But you do not have to wait until then – for further entertainment check out http://www.dreamseekersprods.com/ and have a browse through some of their other work, you won’t be disappointed.

Read our interview with director Peter Dukes here.

Katie Hall is the assistant editor at Critics Associated.