South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival – Screening as a selection in the “Texas High School Short Competition” category, A Really Dark Comedy (2021) is directed by Manasi Ughdmathe and written by Jackson Coates.
In A Really Dark Comedy, high school Gus (Satvik Shankar) is nervous about asking his crush out to prom. Bringing his friend Elliot (Jackson Coates) along for moral support, the two discuss the plan, or lack thereof, and watch a car doing laps around the neighborhood. Running into an unfortunate accident on the way to the girl’s house, the pair must come up with some quick thinking in order to not make the prom-posal a total fail.
I would describe this as the kind of comedic movie that sneaks up on you, as I didn’t laugh out loud until the last 5 seconds of the story. Most of the short film is just the setup to the film’s ultimate joke, and as a result, A Really Dark Comedy seemed like a meandering, Young-adult conversation at the outset.
However, luckily, this film is short and sweet at about a 5-minute runtime, and so it does not take long at all to get to the comedic payoff. Satvik Shankar and Jackson Coates star in the film as the buddy-comedy duo playing off of each other in somewhat of a straight-man/funny-man kind of chemistry. My only real gripe is that the film may have taken a minute or two too long to get to the punchline. At least Jackson Coates was pretty humorous along the way.
A Really Dark Comedy is just that, a really dark comedy — the movie certainly delivers on what is promised by its title. I did in fact find myself laughing, but I immediately felt bad afterward because the joke, itself, is so dark. Not quite at the dead baby level of dark jokes that people do not usually enjoy, but just about.
A Really Dark Comedy reviewed as part of our South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival coverage.
6.25 out of 10