Slamdance 2014: I PUT A HIT ON YOU Review


Film Pulse Score

Release Date:   TBD
Directors:   Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart
MPAA Rating:   NR
FilmPulse Score:   6/10

I Put a Hit on You, Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart’s debut feature, appears to be several genres neatly rolled into one little economically paced film. It’s a comedy, it’s a single setting film, it’s a relationship drama, it’s a survival thriller as well as being a conversational film, the film contains a little bit of everything.

The premise for I Put a Hit on You is simple enough and revolves around a young couple, Ray (Aaron Ashmore) and Harper (Sara Canning), the viewer is introduced to the two during a night-out at a fancy restaurant, complete with Ray arriving late with an injured knee, Harper overreacting, casual fun conversations that looks as though these two are patching things up and moving forward. This seemingly picturesque date night culminates with a surprising (embarrassing) twist that arrives during dessert that leaves Harper heartbroken.

It seems as though Harper is prone to overreacting as she grows frustrated chopping celery, ultimately abandoning that task for a liter of white wine to drink away the night. 3 or 4 glasses in she remembers a dinner conversation with Ray where he discussed how people barter on the internet; Harper with her winedrunk mindset decides to comb through Craigslist barter ads until she finally decides to post her own, she’s willing to trade her engagement ring for the assassination of her ex-boyfriend. She realizes she’s made this decision hours later when she, have asleep and hungover, answers a call from a potential hit-man ready for the mission.

Harper races to Ray’s apartment to break the news and the rest of the film involves the two of them holed up in Ray’s apartment, devising plans for their survival. Through the course of the night they each make discoveries about one another and themselves – some positive, some negative. With nowhere to go and being forced in each other’s company, Ray and Harper lay their relationship, faults and all, out on the table and finally start discussing their problems for once; but, do keep in mind that this is transpiring while a Craigslist hit-man trying to eliminate Ray.

The whole accidentally hiring a hit-man premise is really nothing more than a plot development device implemented to force Ray and Harper to spend the night in each other’s company, while forcing them to work through the problems in their relationship. It’s an interesting premise, but it quickly takes a backseat to the more central aspect of the film – the failed relationship of Ray and Harper. At times humorous, I Put a Hit on You plays out more like a filmed therapy session, although one with death lurking just outside the apartment complex.

Clark and Stewart managed to create a fresh take on the relationship dramedy genre with I Put a Hit on You, their debut feature has all the right ingredients though, perhaps, the ratios are a bit off. While the comedy is a bit lacking, it does hit the nail on the head at some points like the sequence where Harper and Ray bicker incessantly while trying to forge the perfect follow-up Craigslist assassination cancellation post. I Put a Hit on You is interesting and enjoyable enough, thanks to the writing of Clark and Stewart, but the film also benefits greatly from the economical run-time.