Who wants to live forever? A lot of people apparently. One of the earliest recorded works of literature The Epic of Gilgamesh details a man’s quest for immortality. And in the year 2020, we’re still telling stories about it. In this case the anthology film Immortal. Four stories about people for whom death is not an option.
In the first story, “Chelsea” the title character (Lindsay Mushett, Future World) is a high school track star with a troubling relationship to her coach. A seemingly sympathetic teacher Mr. Shagis (Dylan Baker, Selma, Trick R Treat) offers to help. But he has his own agenda.
There are a couple of interesting concepts here. Sadly, neither are well developed. Director Rob Margolies turns what could have been a thrilling segment into a bland mostly talky affair. It also suffers from a non-ending, going out on a note that feels like the midpoint of a feature.
Up next is “Gary and Vanessa”. Facing financial problems and imminent fatherhood, Gary (Brett Edwards) comes up with a scheme to solve their problems. His wife Vanessa (Agnes Bruckner) is not happy with his idea but he’s insistent. Things, of course, go horribly wrong. Mario Van Peebles (A Clear Shot, Seized) has a cameo as a cable repairman.
Reading the plot of this episode I thought I knew what to expect. The ending however caught me off guard. It’s a grim tale of karma neatly directed by Danny Isaacs.
“Ted and Mary”, the third episode is a change of pace. Ted’s (Tony Todd, Candy Corn, The Debt Collector) wife Mary (Robin Bartlett, Shutter Island, Mad About You) suffers from terminal cancer. After giving an interview to a TV crew, he plans to help her end her suffering and her life.
This was the strongest segment of the film. Managing to be both touching and horrific in an all too relatable way. It was also nice to see Tony Todd playing a sympathetic character for a change. Tom Colley certainly deserves more chances to direct based on this.
The fourth and final segment “Warren” is a return to horror. Warren (Samm Levine, Freaks and Geeks) is the is killed by a hit and run driver. Finding out as a result that he can’t die, he looks for revenge.
Jon Dabach, who wrote the script, directed this one. A familiar plot interestingly executed it probably would have been better as the third story. It suffers by comparison.
Immortal lacks a wraparound story, the only connections between the segments is the concept of immortality and writer Dabach. The end result is that it feels like four separate shorts thrown together rather than a more traditional anthology.
Also, since Immortal is both the film’s title and theme, the episodes come somewhat pre-spoiled in some cases. It probably would have played better with a different title. And a poster that didn’t give the film’s secrets away.
Immortal is available on demand from Stonecutter/DifferentDuckFilms. You can check the Different Ducks Facebook Page for more information.