“The New Tenants” – Mirthful & Macabre

Turning to a past Oscar-winning short film for a post on a good narrative video might seem like a cheap shot, but the 2009 winner “The New Tenants” is one of those videos that just sticks with you. It’s a wild and powerful story told through extremely well-written dialogue and some creative characters, all in the span of roughly one-fourth the length of a regular, full-length movie.

 

 

This short film is about a couple, Peter and Frank, who have just moved into a new apartment that was previously resided in by a man who was recently murdered. As they sit in their new apartment and discuss death, a torrent of visitors come to the apartment, and the new tenants come to realize how the old tenant was murdered, and why.

I don’t want to give too much about the plot away (because it is an excellent film and should be watched!), but I can carefully talk about several features of the film that I thought really made it unique. First of all, as I mentioned in the title, this film toes the line between being outright hilarious and absolutely unsettling. The whole story is centered around the murder of the former tenant (which is rather gory), but the dialogue is witty that it makes it all rather comical. For example, the story opens up with Peter and Frank talking about death (brought about by Frank telling Peter that his cigarette smoking will kill him). Peter goes into a funny monologue about how “nobody gets out alive, everybody buys the farm at some point….usually in the least photogenic manner”, which sets the stage for the rest of the plot to unfold.

Another rich thing about this film is that the way the story is mostly told through the various visitors to the apartment is pretty genius. Most of the visitors begin with, “Oh, you must be the new tenants” and then launch into whatever they came for, oblivious to the fact that Peter and Frank just want to relax and their new apartment and not be burdened with the dealings of the former tenant. The ending of the film really ties it all together as well.

I’ve included a trailer for the film since it is a bit longer (like 20 minutes), but if you want to check it out, just type the title into YouTube and the entire film is on there in two parts! Enjoy!

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