If you discovered the key to eternal life, would you use it? No matter what the key may turn out to be, would you just go for it?
That’s one of the questions posed by A Song For The Living, or Dead Love as it’s also known. Brandon, Grayson Low (“The Kiss (Short)”, “Seed (Short)”), is in a funeral home to arrange his mother’s funeral after her recent passing by hanging herself.
The owners of the funeral, Caterina, Kate Linder (“Mother’s Day”, “The Young And The Restless (TV)”), Lassiter, Bob Buckley, and the beautiful Fiona, Nicole Elizabeth Olsen, are warm and friendly, helping him in his time of need.
Together, the ladies invite Brandon around for dinner and when Fiona sings a beautiful song about eternal life and Lassiter serves a sumptuous looking steak, Brandon ends up with far more than he could have possibly bargained for.
I’d like to go into more detail about the story but it’s tricky without giving too much away, and no-one wants to read a bunch of spoilers do they?
There’s also the issue that A Song For The Living (aka Dead Love) is a real head-scratcher. It takes so long for the big reveal to be revealed that everything up to that moment is a bit fuzzy and slow as you’ve no idea why anyone’s behaving the way they are, which is oddly.
Caterina and Fiona talk amongst themselves about Brandon being ‘the one’ and Fiona loving him, but there are hints that there’s more too it than that, certainly more for Brandon anyway.
Lassiter meanwhile goes around like a bear with a sore head as he feels left out of whatever it is that’s occurring. It also doesn’t help that he’s in love with Fiona, despite being seemingly double her age, and married to her sister…
The film is a double-whammy in the writing and directing towers with Colin Floom (“The Lifted Life”, “For The Living”) and Greg Nemer (“Pre-Nope (Short)”, “Unredeemable (Short)”) behind the camera and Emanuel Isler (“The Charnel House”, “Baruj Salinas, 21st Century Master”) and Chad Israel (“The Charnel House”) on writing duties.
On the directing front things are good. There’s good use of close-ups and the lighting is dramatic and suits the scenes. The story however, that’s a different matter.
It’s slow going with little pay-off when things are revealed and the ending feels like some of it got left on the cutting room floor, unless they’re expecting a sequel? There’s no horror and no tension either, and it’s this latter point that really hits home.
It’s the tension that’s missing from A Song For The Living (aka Dead Love). You’re not gripped, you’re not scared, you’re not worried or panicked. You just watch, wondering what it’s all about, what the pay-off will be, and it’s all a bit anticlimactic when it arrives.
The songs don’t help either. Both Fiona and Brandon get to sing a little ditty and it makes the film feel more like a showcase for their singing then one that showcases their acting, which is a shame.
Because, besides the directing, it’s the first-time performance from Nicole Elizabeth Olson that really brings the film to life. She’s mesmerizing as Fiona, playing seductress with a heart, torn between being able to continue the life she’s known for so long and condemning someone else into the same life.
I’m confused by A Song For The Living (aka Dead Love), and not only by which title it’s going by. There was something strangely compelling about the whole thing that kept me watching and stops me from saying I hated it, yet equally I know I didn’t love it. Tough love.