Alex Kahuam (director)
London FrightFest 2023 (studio)
28 August 2023 (released)
28 August 2023
Whether he’s a poor businessman or just been unlucky James (Ted Raimi) is under pressure as never before to find a way out if a financial hole, in an hour. Well-meaning calls of support from loyal employees at his plastics factory are not much good unless backed by hard cash.
Added to this there’s family pressure with his daughter’s wedding which has the bod arriving with suggestions for garments. All this while James is having a continuous conversation with an unknown man (Noel Douglas Orput) in his head that the viewer sees is wearing a dressing gown.
Never really leaving the family home this one-take melodrama is a tour de force from Ted Raimi as a man who clearly has a difficult past - he calls upon someone called Slavko to clear up a mess he has made – and now facing an even more difficult future. As assertive as James plays it with the various people that come into his home underneath its clear he’s an emotional mess, battling demons and a spectral or mental presence. The latter, that is something to pitch his idea too though the decisions are his.
At times the film has the feeling of a farce with the wedding party wearing some awful clothes and with rooms out of bounds for daft reasons. Others its’s far darker with James coming to terms with matters in a manner that recalls the depths that Al Pacino played Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II.
Whatever the absurd contortions of the plot with characters turning up such as the wedding party, James’s ex business partner (Daniel Kuhlman) later on the mannered villains in sharp suits with sharp minds, there’s an undercurrent of genuine unpleasantness about the whole business that spills out into the open a couple of times.
Writer and director Alex Kahuam manages to keep a very dialogue heavy film fluid through tight control of the action; the camera almost never stops, torquing up the tension every so often to a fairly satisfactory conclusion.
Failure! received its World Premiere at London FrightFest 2023.