The Reaper is a scary foreboding being who represents death. If you see this being it usually means the end is nigh. But what happens if the Reaper is killed? “A Grim Becoming” gives us the story of Raphael Stockford, a talented architect who unwillingly gets the job of a Reaper after he killed a Reaper he saw during a car accident. For obvious reasons, he does not like this idea. Raphael tries to beat the system to get out of the job while trying to avoid collecting souls.
This horror comedy from director Adam R. Steigert is a darkly entertaining movie made by horror fans, for horror fans. When the film first began, it felt like it was going to be another cliche horror film but after the first ten minutes you realize it is more than that. The script manages a decent mix of horror and comedy, never letting one completely dominate the other. The jokes were executed at just the right time and never too cheesy. The performance of Brandyn T. Williams as Raphael stands out with great comedic timing and well done emotional moments. Devanny Pinn’s (HOUSE OF MANSON, DEAD SEA) Jaime, the girlfriend of Raphael’s nephew, is a wreck after the death of her boyfriend. Devanny shows a wide emotional range in her acting as one of the more serious characters in the movie. We also get some fun performances by veteran independent film actor Bill Oberst, Jr. (WEREWOLF RISING, CIRCUS OF THE DEAD) and actress Lynn Lowry (DYS-, THE CRAZIES). Bill Oberst’s character does a number of subtle yet creepy gestures through out the film that made me laugh every time he was on screen. Lynn looks like she is just having fun with her character every time she appears. Also look for Jessica Cameron (TRUTH OR DARE) to make an appearance as “Life”.
Aryn Fitzgerald as the young October steals every scene that she is in. She throws out barbs with precision and stands toe-to-toe with all of the adult actors in the movie. She reminded me of Patty McCormack from the Bad Seed. My favorite character has to be Michael Sciabarrasi’s Magoo. Magoo is a hilarious, charismatic character that one can’t help but love. He is just one of the many strange characters Raphael runs across. The film does an excellent job of world-building that gives it legs and plausibility.
Adam and his writing team present a world and mythology that the audience can buy into, believing in the unusual characters and events the main character experiences. The script is like a cross between “Dead Like Me” and Piers Anthony “On a Pale Horse”. The makeup and special effects in the film are both top notch. I personally loved all the practical skeletons that were used in the film. There are also a number of well choreographed action scenes that surprised me. Outside of one scene where Magoo makes an exposition from on the nature of the job of the Reaper, the film moves along at a great pace that won’t have you looking at the clock wondering when it will be over.
With an original script, a large collection of very talented independent film actors, and the direction of Adam R. Steigert, “A Grim Becoming” is a film that will be enjoyed by fans of independent horror and horror comedy alike. I give it 3.75 out 5 stubs.