Ginny Reaper (Short Film) ★★★★ Belfast Film Festival

Ginny Reaper (Short Film) ★★★★ Belfast Film Festival

Niamh McKeown’s mockumentary Ginny Reaper is a short film you will immediately fall in love with. There is so much to enjoy within those fifteen minutes that you will never want it to end.

Ginny, a grim reaper, embarks on her first holiday in one hundred years only to be haunted by the ghosts of her past.

When you have lines like “William, I told you 300 years ago, it’s over”, you know you are in for a sure-fire winner. Niamh McKeown brings that in glorious spades with her mockumentary Ginny Reaper. With a heap full of daft absurdity (where else will you get to see a Grim Reaper assault a ghost?), this is the type of short film that causes wonderful little sparks of joy to occur in your head. You are either grinning, chuckling or full-on laughing away from beginning to end. Niamh McKeown has thoroughly filled Ginny Reaper with as many jokes as she can muster. Yet, you still believe she could have gone far longer with her material.

Tanya Reynolds is having quite an excellent year in the short films she has starred in; she delivered a superb performance in Charlotte Hamblin’s Everybody Dies… Sometimes, and here in Ginny Reaper, she can bring more of her natural comedic talent to the fore. She plays Ginny, a Grim Reaper who has a sudden urge to be influencer famous perfectly. Ginny has a joy but a purposely frustrating one; you could have a great night out with her, but don’t expect her to help if you need it. Her vain, egotistical mind sometimes, makes her the perfect vessel for a mockumentary. Despite this, and most importantly for Ginny Reaper to succeed, Reynolds and McKeown make her someone you can still relate with. She is just that over-confident person who you can’t help but like.

Writer/Director Niamh McKeown is firing on all cylinders with her film here. She has perfectly nailed down what works best in a mockumentary format and brought enough dark quirks to bring laughter where there shouldn’t be. Ginny’s excuse of leaving her armless friend in A&E during a night of drinking because she had to collect 27 dead orphans from a burnt-out orphanage should nearly bring as many laughs as it does. But goodness, the darkness mixed with the relative commonality of how Ginny says it makes dialogue like that work so fantastically well.

Having her film be a mockumentary allows Ginny Reaper to open itself up into so many avenues. Ginny can look at the camera and deadpan or give away little moments that enables us to learn more about her as a (well, not a person, I guess, but…) reaper. As a writer and filmmaker, McKeown, we need to see more of her out there as she is a great talent. There is an ease to her work here that you don’t see too often and with hope we will see her rise up as her career continues.

With an engaging cast including Lewis Gribben, Flora Bird and Ross Johnston, who portray our needy but great ghosts, and a fun script that pushes the concept along tremendously well, Ginny Reaper is a winner of a short film. An easy watch that will really have you wanting to see where these characters and their stories go next. But, for now, enjoy those fifteen excellent minutes; it’s a film that will make your day.


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