Subtlety would be the art that most Christian films lack. Many times Christian filmmakers get caught up in trying to drill a message into our head that they forget to craft a quality story that could engage viewers on its own. If you've been in Christian circles long enough you've most likely got sucked into watching one of those sappy, poorly acted films at a church function were the dialogue is extremely bad and everything is neatly packaged in the end. But bad movies aren't limited to the Christian community. If you watch the SciFi Channel late at night I'm pretty sure you'll find a movie just as poorly constructed and made on a bigger budget.
Thankfully, Relapse isn't one of those movies. It's the kind of substantial work that Christian filmmakers need to produce. For a short film, it accomplishes rhythm, tone and character development rather efficiently. We are quickly drawn into the world of a husband and wife struggling with the lost of a child. Newcomer Cassandra Lawson plays the part of the grieving mother, her performance is seasoned with a delicate balance of emotion and depth. Lawson's interaction with the adorable child actor offers a compelling cinematic moment.
However, the chief accomplishment of Relapse is its feel. It treads on waters of dramatic and eerie. Director Ryan Smith understands that sometimes a film's best sequences are when nothing is said. Smith forms scenes that fill the silence with skilled purpose alongside a captivating music score by Jim Daneker that invokes the right heart strings to create a beautiful piece of storytelling.
Yet Relapse is not without its flaws, there are some lines that could have been sharper like the "I'm beginning to think you live here" one. But that's a small pebble in a film that flows quite gracefully.
The DVD includes extra features to facilitate a group discussion. For more info on C2 short films visit www.c2dvd.com and www.seabournepictures.com