Hey gang, Valkor here. If there were ever to be a new “Twilight Zone” series put into production, I’d like Roger Sampson to take part in it. Why? Because his short films offer up the same twisted, creepy, dreadful air that the series is known for. This rings especially true with the film “The Jones”. And now you can add Sampson’s latest film “Envious” to that short, yet an ever growing list of films that fit right in with the super, creepy but ever enjoyable TV series. Though it does raise a few questions… read on! Oh and spoiler alert!
"Envious" follows the family three of daughter Angela (April Hartman – The Origin of Species), her husband Tanner (Matthew Roy) and her mom Claudia (Sheril Rodgers), who have gathered at Angela’s home for their monthly dinner, which judging by their conversation, is usually held at Claudia’s house. But given mom’s “shopping” habits (again through their conversation), Angela is hosting this round. The short opens as the family is in the midst of dinner and having a rather tense conversation when suddenly Angela becomes violently ill. It’s revealed that Claudia poisoned the salad that she brought specifically for Angela. And as her daughter lay dying, it’s brought to light that Claudia and Tanner were having an affair. Plus Claudia stands to inherit the five million dollar trust fund left by her father, should Angela pass. So with Angela out of the way, Claudia and Tanner can go on to live happily ever after, right? WRONG! Tanner seizes the opportunity to literally stab Claudia in the back in hopes of gaining all the money for himself. But in a sudden twist, it turns out that Angela was actually playing dead; she knew all along about the poisoned food and she was aware of the affair between her husband and mother. So, she got in a little pre-game before the main dinner event by poisoning the food (and condiments) that she knew that only her husband and mother would consume. And to wrap things up she gives husband Tanner quite the finishing blow.
One thing I like most about watching and reviewing short films is that rather than backtrack to a particular scene, I can watch the whole film in its entirety to best understand why a scene went a certain way or if I missed something entirely. Needless to say, there's a scene in "Envious” that has raised a few of questions that warranted multiple viewings. Did I get my answers? Let’s find out in the TOV Breakdown.
"Envious" is one tasty thriller that packs a whole lot in such a short time frame; the story is very simple and easy to get into, yet it’s rich with depth thanks to the acting and the character’s dialogues that easily absorbs you into the world of this dysfunctional family. Right away tensions are running high, and it grows even more uncomfortable and unnerving as the film progresses. And just when you think it might be over, the film tosses you a satisfying twist that does well in wrapping things up. The acting all around is on point and works to move the story along in an eerie, menacing fashion. And I gotta give credit to Sheril Rodgers for her deliciously evil portrayal of mom Claudia, whose disdain towards her daughter reaches well beyond my monitor. It gives me the chills! Overall, when it comes to Envious, I wouldn’t mind a longer version. But I’m pleased with what’s presented and I look forward to the horrific treats that Sampson has coming down the pike.
I mentioned above that I watched Envious a few times, and that’s because of one area that I found a bit puzzling and I have a few questions. So the mom poisoned the salad that Angela ate, and Angela pretended to be dead because she was aware that the salad was poisoned. So I'm guessing we’re to assume that when Angela realized the salad was poisoned, way before the start of dinner, that she swapped it out with a fresh one? OK, I’ll buy that. But how would Angela know how to react from the poison? She couldn’t have known “exactly” what kind of poison was on the salad, right? Angela mentions that she read the text messages between her husband and Claudia, but I can’t believe that Claudia would give away the specifics of her plan in such detail in a text. Also, wouldn’t it have been better if Angela swapped the salad, ate the good version and then watch as her mom sat with disbelief that this chick is not dying and then watch with heated intensity and joy as her mom and husband die from the poison that she put in their food? Now that would have been malicious! Or maybe I'm over thinking this one...
"Envious" is available now for your viewing pleasure through the embedded video below. And if you enjoyed that short, then definitely checked out the other films put out by Sampson and company (reviews linked to the right). So, if you’re looking for a little disturbing entertainment to fill your evenings, then definitely give "Envious" a go, which gets 4 out of TOV 5 stars.