Hank Boyd is Dead
Sarah Walsh is a struggling actress who recently moved back home to care for her terminally ill father. To make ends meet she works as a caterer and, as the film opens, is left to tend to the post-funeral gathering for Hank Boyd, a quiet loner who stood accused of a horrific crime and took his own life before standing trial. Sarah knew Hank in high school and, while he was a strange kid, doesn't believe that he could do something so terrible. Her suspicions grow stronger after she meets Hank's brother David, a local cop with a checkered past, his dimwitted partner Ray who's charged with guarding the house, David's mother Beverly who's in the latter stages of dementia and Aubrey, his distant and obviously damaged younger sister. When Sarah overhears David and Ray talking her suspicions turn to alarm as it's implied they were somehow complicit in Hank's death and may have plans for her as well. Meanwhile Beverly has become convinced that Sarah is her long lost daughter while Aubrey...
David Christopher Wells as David Boyd
Liv Rooth as Aubrey Boyd
There’re some interesting things happening in Sean Melia’s feature flick, Hank Boyd is Dead. First, the look of the film and a few of the cast members really leads one to believe that there are some jokes in store for viewers. Furthermore, imdb categorizes the film as a comedy/horror/thriller. But that’s not really the case; Hank Boyd is Dead isn’t the comedic piece one might think. Outside of a few sparse moments, the picture isn’t funny, at all. It is however a quirky film (possibly one of the reasons we anticipate laughter) with some redeemable qualities that genre fans should find endearing.
The narrative follows Sarah, a caterer on the job for Hank Boyd’s funeral get together. It could conceivably be another day on the job, but the Boyd family isn’t your typical family. The group consists of shady, aggressive police officers, off-beat personalities and… well, something else that we won’t speak on, in order to avoid spoiling what proves to be an entertaining affair.
Despite coming up short on the humor front, Hank Boyd is Dead really does work and that’s a direct result of the characters and the on-screen performances. Stefanie E. Frame does good work as Sarah, but David Christopher Wells absolutely steals the show as David Boyd, a venomous man of the law and brother to the deceased titular character. Wells hits repeated homeruns as his physical demeanor and snarky attitude repeatedly fall in perfect sync. Wells proved excellent, plain and simple, and this performance alone could very well propel the man in a promising direction, in regards to his professional career.
A minimalist approach works wonders for Melia. This is a story that requires no big special effects or lavish settings. The entire story unravels within the Boyd home, and it doesn’t need any additional setting to work. The fact that there are next to no special effects is extremely interesting, as some might feel a genre film cannot succeed without some flash. Hank Boyd is Dead proves otherwise. This is a film that succeeds not because it looks impressive, but because – again – the characters work well together. There’s on-screen chemistry in the areas where on-screen chemistry is indeed required. It’s very true that Melia doesn’t pull out every stop for the film, it’s also true that Melia pulls out the few stops required to empower the performers and pull everything needed from the interior sets.
Hank Boyd is Dead doesn’t require a 10-page breakdown to convince anyone it’s worth a look. The picture isn’t remotely near perfect, and it’s not – admittedly – going to win over crowds unanimously, but it does warrant some very real praise, a direct product of the effective work provided by the cast and the direction of Melia himself. It also impresses for reasons that may really surprise you. There’s no refuting the fact that I’d like to see a stronger comedic undercurrent from the flick, as it could have been the perfect horror comedy had the humorous angles been just a bit more refined, but I’m far from disappointed in the fact that the provided jokes sometimes fall a little flat. If you’re looking for something entertaining, Hank Boyd is Dead is a relatively safe feature to look into.