Short films are challenging because in almost no time you need to establish the world, the stakes, and make the audience care about what’s happening. Final Gasp seems to struggle a bit with some of these concepts as it tells the story of a young woman (Catarina Carvalho) who receives a mysterious package while alone in the apartment. From a storyline perspective all the necessary information is provided, but since other characters play such key roles in the story, it would have been more effective if we had actually seen them rather than only having them referred to or interacted with through text convos.
This is largely a one person show and Carvalho does a solid job working within the space she is given. The film is very competently shot (not a given for microbudget projects like this) and director David E. Teixeira does an effective job building tension and dread within a confined space. I also enjoy the otherworldly quality the film takes on at times and Teixeira economically uses camera angles, everyday objects, and a haunting score to great effect.
Unfortunately, it also succumbs to common screenwriting pitfalls such as characters making illogical and perplexing choices in service of moving the story forward, when it’s always scarier to see someone do everything right and still be put in danger. I mean, maybe instead of just using your phone as a flashlight, take two seconds and try calling the police. A bit of a mixed bag ultimately, but still a decent film that could have been a very good film had there been a more stringent evaluation of each story beat prior to shooting.
No release date as of review, follow David E. Teixeira on Twitter at @davidemmanuelt for further updates and info.