Morbid Curiosity (2006) – By Duane L. Martin

 Oh my god! Brilliant! How often do you get to say that when you watch any film? I have a relatively short list of independent films I can actually say that about. Sure there are tons of great indie films out there made by very talented people, but every so often you get one that just makes you sit back and say, "Awesome!"

Gary King’s "Hubris" was one film that recently made me cross that threshold into feeling like I had just seen something incredibly well done by a film maker with true vision and talent. Gary is also a super nice guy and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him.

I have some other things going on in my life right now and I wasn’t planning on taking any more screeners for myself for a few months while I work on getting a new business going, but when Cindy Baer contacted me and said that she had met up with Gary King at a film festival and that he liked her film and suggested that she send it in to me for review, I knew I had to take it, simply because I respected Gary’s talent so much that I knew if he liked it, it had to be good. Let me tell you something. Good doesn’t even begin to describe this film.

Morbid Curiosity is about a girl named Destiny (Cindy Baer) who keeps coming up with bad "what if" scenerios about various people she sees at different times in her life. Sure, most people who see someone on a ladder occassionally think to themselves, "What if he fell off the ladder?" Nothing comes of thoughts like that when your normal person envisions them, but when Destiny has those thoughts, she sees them so clearly in every detail that they always come true.

The film is shot in an almost amateur kind of a confessional format. Like someone who got a friend to document their confessions on video. Throughout the film, the scenes of the various events she talks about are displayed as a number of (often hilarious) still pictures and nothing more. It’s very minimalist to say the least, but when it comes around to the end, there’s something that happens that is so utterly phenomenal that it’ll literally make you sit there and verbally say, "Holy crap!" because it’s so incredibly well done and so totally unexpected after the minimalist scenes that preceded it. I won’t say what it is here because that would take the shock value out of it completely if you knew it was coming, but suffice it to say it’s one of the best effects I’ve ever seen in an indie film.

What’s really brilliant about this film is the way the story is told in mostly still pictures of the varous people she had the morbid fantasies about and ended up dying horrible deaths. Rather than wasting time and money shooting scene after scene, she just used either a single picture or a few pictures to illustrate what she was talking about in the background. That’s all that was needed. A picture is really worth a thousand words and one good shot for each scenerio she was talking about really told the story perfectly.

This film came in at five and a half minutes. Could it have been longer? I guess it could have been if she had shot real footage for each death scenerio. Would that have made the film better if she had done that? Not only no, but hell no! It’s perfect as it is and to have tried to stretch it out or mess with the format in any way would have ruined it in my opinion.

As a film maker, Cindy Baer’s light is shining as brightly as a beacon in the fog and many an aspiring film maker out there could learn something from this film. Namely, don’t over do everything so that nothing ends up having a wow factor and it all just becomes blase. Cindy understood that perfectly and saved her real wow factor moment for the end, leaving you speechless and wanting more. That’s a sign of someone who really understands their craft and I really look forward to seeing more from this truly talented film maker.

The film is currently making the rounds around the film festival circuit. You can get a list of the festivals it’ll be appearing at and check out the trailer as well by visiting the film’s website at http://www.freedreampictures.com/morbidcuriosity.