Grandpa is all alone. His wife died several months ago, and living in the middle of nowhere, the solitude of the setting drives home the point. Still, Jack C. Hays is right on the mark, and the grandpa we all envision. Even more so when he lays out an extra setting for his dear departed wife. She’s only “A Little Dead” he assures, and provides the horror film’s title. So sweet and being a caring family member means we must give our elders the leaps of faith they need to subsist. After all, age and the human toll of so much loss compromises their ability to process life in a completely rational manner. At least that’s what we tell ourselves when we’re not sure about their decisions. But how could we be wrong? They’re old and we’re not. Well, before jumping to conclusions in our own lives, let’s see what Ben Richardson’s 13 minute short film has to say about who knows better.

So on the midwestern frontier, a worn tractor, an ancient windmill and a few contented cows murmur that the pace is in no rush and neither is any chance of change. Then if there was any doubt, the way old school jazz tune coming from the gramophone says that the grandpa in question yearns deeply for another time.

On the other hand, today has got its perks too. Grandpa’s daughter Hailey (Eden McGuire) arrives among the desolation, and in calling her “Little One,” Hays stands in for our grandfather like he never went away. The hug that McGuire lives so fully shows a love that goes both ways, and despite the huge loss, emptiness is not all grandpa faces.

Unfortunately, the darkened domicile that Grandpa now haunts say otherwise, and Hailey calls him on it. She invokes the disapproval grandma (Debbi Tucker) would have if she was in the room. Still, he assures, “it’s fine,” and Hailey simply accepts that grandpas ultimately will lose a step – especially under the circumstances.

The fact that Rosa the caretaker (Judy Triana), has disappeared is a little less easier to accept. However, in Hays’ slow, confused acknowledging, the mystery will probably be cleared once his aged-compromised rationale reveals the truth.

Still, Grandpa is managing. His appearance is kept up, the house is in good shape, and he has a routine. So maybe there is a reasonable explanation, and you can’t help being allayed.

Swinging back the other way again, the camera seems more like an observer than a vehicle used to record events. There’s also a deafening quiet about the old house. No incidental noises to distract, the sounds of the floor under walking feet, the creaking of the cabinets or the woosh of the seat cushions makes it feel like the interior has a mind of its own. So, for instance, it seems that Grandpa isn’t the only one judging when Hailey takes it upon herself to do the dishes.

An unseen force or not, Grandpa’s stone cold look doesn’t have him the kindly old patriarch she’s always known. In turn, McGuire’s reaction says that Hailey is going to have to get used to a grandpa who carries this horrible weight. Piling on, Grandpa doesn’t stop at putting out extra glasses at dinner time, and his odd new table manners can only mean that the poor old man has gone to a whole other level.

But Grandpa does look awfully resolute, and maybe there’s more to his aberrations than just being broken by grief. Caught in between, the ominous score by Brandon Blanchard is always there to remind us of the doubt.

Nonsense, according to the arrival of Kevin (Ben Richardson), and this grandchild has no reservations about Grandpa’s state of mind. Richardson oozes self assurance, and minus any wiggle room, changes must be forced before something terrible happens.

A convenient rationalization, and even if Kevin is jumping the gun, eventually he won’t be. Conversely, when the uncertainties finally reveal, you’ll think twice before assuming grandpa has lost it and the chill received – will be your own.




Grandpa is all alone. His wife died several months ago, and living in the middle of nowhere, the solitude of the setting drives home the

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