Sundance 2014: CHAPEL PERILOUS Review


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DIRECTED by:                                                              Film Pulse Score: 7.5/10

Winning the Short Film Audience Awaard at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Matthew Lessner’s Chapel Perilous blends a healthy amount of absurdity, mysticism, and the musical stylings of Sun Araw.  It’s a strange little short, with just the right kind of quirkiness and charm to see why people deemed this the best of the fest.

The film stars David Henry Gerson as Levi Gold, a normal dude who enjoys the finer things in life, like drinking Capri Sun and looking at pictures of girls on the internet.  One day, Levi gets a knock on his door from a man (Kris Park) claiming he needs to show him something fantastic, and that he’s not there to sell him anything.  Assuming that he was just a religious nut, Levi sends him on his way, but the man weasels his way in, stating he’s in an emergency bathroom situation.

After Levi’s mail carrier pays him a visit and sees the man there, both convince Levi to sit down and watch the presentation, which, unbeknownst to him, will change his life forever.

Chapel Perilous is the type of short film that leaves you wanting more by the end.  It doesn’t lay all its cards on the table, and only gives you the bare minimum amount of information.  The viewer is left to draw his or her own conclusions about the craziness that just transpired, but I can’t help but think how much fun this could be as a feature film.

Kris Park as the overly enthusiastic Robbin nails the “salesman” routine and Bobby McGee is hilarious as the even more overly enthusiastic Dennis the mailman.  The pure joy on his face when Sun Araw appears in Levi’s living room is worth the price of admission alone.

Chapel Perilous marks another Sundance hit on the hands of Matthew Lessner, and here’s hoping he decides to make a feature length version of this story.  I would love to learn more about the enigmatic Robbin and what occurs after his meeting with Levi.  Also, kudos to David Henry Gerson for really owning the character at Sundance this year.

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