The Backwater Gospel (2011) - Backwater is doomed by the regular visits of the undertaker. The town priest and the faithful think that a merry non-religious tramp brings the death that follows living in an improvised shed in the middle of the town. It looks like when he sings the undertaker visits. But is he the one to blame for their misfortune?
The style of animation used here is very effective and has a gritty, rough quality. The animation is disturbing in its own way, creating a life-like mixture of zombie, wood and human that completely work for this film. The story sucks viewers in, and the set up is eerie. The undertaker, or death, visits a small town and sparks a mass panic that spirals into a dark commentary on religion and other ways that people attempt to explain or escape death. Bo Mathorne may not be a household name now, but if in his future efforts he can manage to display the creative prowess found in his debut animated short, The Backwater Gospel, it’ll be only a matter of time before he’s revered among the elite short film makers of our generation.
I enjoy the work of The Coen Brothers as well as Paul Thomas Anderson, especially There Will Be Blood. Sergio Leone’s classic westerns were an inspiration for the particular project and Danny Boyle’s films have some qualities about them I really like. Animation-wise there’s not a lot of feature length films I’m truly mad about, but short films like The Pearce Sisters by Luis Cook, Crater Face by Skyler Page and The Eagleman Stag by Mikey Please have made a big impact on me.
Directed by Bo Mathorne
Starring: Zebulon Whatley, Lucien Dodge, Phillip Sacramento, Robert Bennett